The 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration takes place Monday, Jan. 15. It honors the life and legacy of King with a community celebration that features Keynote Speaker April Reign, creator of the viral hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, and the premiere of the opera “I DREAM” at Fountain Street Church.
Monday’s celebration is open to the public and is hosted in collaboration with Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Davenport University and for the first time, Opera Grand Rapids.
“I think it’s the highlight of the Martin Luther King events in our community. And this is the 32nd annual event this year and Opera Grand Rapids is just thrilled to be a part of it, this year.”
That’s Ashley Roberts, Marketing Director for Opera Grand Rapids.
She says the opera is, of course, about the life and legacy of Dr. King, but what makes it stand out is the look at the life of the man behind the legend. “
The story focuses on the last 36 hours of his life. Just before his famous speech and it really brings it together that we can really commemorate this in such a unique year, on the 50th anniversary of his death.”
In addition to the Opera presentation, the keynote speaker for the event, April Reign, is big in the social media movement. Her mission is to encourage her Twitter followers to challenge the status quo and increase inclusion of underrepresented communities in the media and the world.
“She is creator the hashtag and social movement “OscarSowhite” and so her presentation will be about pursuing justice in the digital age and what that means.”
Scholarships will also be awarded to students involved in community service or activities that support diversity and inclusion in the community. The MLK Celebration starts at 6 p.m. with the university presentation at the Fountain Street Church. The performance of “I DREAM” will follow the presentation at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome, and seating will be available on a first come basis at the door. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.