King celebrated in Metro area with marches, projects

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Tilda King-Martin said Martin Luther King Jr. is one of her heroes.

“I’m a baby boomer from the segregated south and he was around in my lifetime,” she said. “I remember the struggle.”

King-Martin, no relation of the slain civil rights leader, was one of more than 400 people who attended “Beyond the Dream,” a two-day event celebrating King’s birthday, in the atrium of the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit on Monday. .

“I had to be here today,” she said. “It’s been an outstanding event and a wonderful tribute to Dr. King.”

Organized by the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the event Monday, the official MLK Day holiday, featured speeches by local government officials and community leaders. On Monday, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit NAACP President Rev. Wendell Anthony, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, and Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, spoke. Jackson was to deliver the keynote address.

It was among the dozens of breakfasts, performances, marches, bike rides, service projects and museum programs across Metro Detroit to honor King’s legacy.

Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School in Detroit has celebrated on the third Monday in January for the past seven years. On Monday,a morning program “My Life Matters” and a march were featured. .

King students, many wearing black shirts with “My Life Matters” in white letters, were joined by teachers, alumni, representatives from unions and local service organizations on the 11/2-mile walk. Elected officials Conyers; Detroit Councilwoman Mary Sheffield; U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and Detroit police Commissioner Willie Burton were there.

“Dr. King would’ve thought the best way to remember his legacy is to be focused on the future and understand that justice is something you need to work on every day,” Peters said.

Peters cited the Flint water crisis and criminal justice reform as the primary civil rights issues of the time.

Sheffield, whose council district includes King, said she sees the march as “a clarion call for all of us to do our part to continue the struggle for jobs, peace and justice.”

JaiShawn Williams, a senior, said Monday’s event “really represents what our school stands for: leadership and making leaders.”

Elsewhere, actor Levar Burton delivered the keynote address at the 24th annual Keeper Of the Dream scholarship award celebration at Oakland University on Monday and youngsters heard stories during a celebration at the Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham.