DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. HOLIDAY 2020
BY ANDREAS BUTLER DAYTONA TIMES
Hundreds of residents marched and worshiped together at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events in Daytona Beach. The day’s events took place at Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church, which included a traditional breakfast followed by a march and worship service.
“It’s so important that we keep Dr. King’s life, legacy, work and dream alive. If we don’t, everything that he did for us to have equality would be in vain, said Kim Brown-Crawford, chair of this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration for Florida, Inc., non-profit organization that puts on MLK celebration events in Daytona.
“Our youth often act like they’re entitled. They think that they could just always walk into any store. That’s maybe why they act out at times. Dr. King struggled, fought and died so that we can go anywhere without being questioned by our skin color.
Support and solidarity
Dre Marshall participated in the activities on Monday with his wife, Charyse, and their son, Dre Jr.
While marching, Dre Marshall told the Daytona Times, “I came out to show support and solidarity with the folks in the community. It’s important to be visible and inclusive in the community. We must celebrate MLK and his work. There is still much to be done. There is racial and discrimination problems that still exist today.”
Local youth also showed up for Monday’s activities. They were well-represented by students from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, Bethune-Cookman University as well as Black fraternities and sororities and local youth organizations.
“We invited all the local youth organization to participate in the march. It’s important to have them participate. We still find so many kids that don’t know the history and significance of Dr. King and his work. We wanted as many youth as possible at this year’s events,” expressed Brown-Crawford.
Paved the way
Quentin Williams was one of the students who participated in the weekend events, including the march.
“It’s important that we participate in these events to honor Dr. King and others who have paved the way for us to have opportunities,” responded Williams.
Williams is a senior at Mainland High with a 4.4 grade point average. He was one of seven local high school students awarded scholarships during the MLK Scholarship and Awards banquet on Jan. 16. Williams plans to attend Florida A&M University in the fall.
“The scholarship will definitely help me towards my educational and career goals. I’m grateful and appreciative,’’ he added.
Other high school seniors who received scholarships at the banquet are Taylor Culver (Mainland), Faith Fletcher (New Smyrna Beach), Jeffrey Robinson, Jr. (Atlantic), Caitlyn Harris (Mainland), Sydnee Fordham (Mainland). The Trayvon Martin Scholarship went to Trey Simpson (Mainland).
The Daytona events included a gospel concert at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic church on Jan. 12, the MLK Scholarship and Awards banquet at Hard Rock Hotel on Jan.16, and a
worship service at Master’s Domain Church of God on Jan. 19.
Brown-Crawford noted, “The weekend in Daytona was extraordinary. Our residents really supported us not only with their time and talent but financially and physically.
”During the MLK Scholarship and Awards banquet, $1,000 scholarships went to seven high school seniors. Book vouchers and $2,000 went to Bethune-Cookman University.
“We were able to provide scholarships for local kids going off to college and money to the Debate Society at Bethune-Cookman University,” added Brown Crawford.
Busy day in DeLand
In DeLand on Monday, the signature MLK Day Breakfast was held at Rinker Field House on the campus of Stetson University.
Following the breakfast, a march went from Stetson through downtown DeLand to Earl Brown Park where a festival was held with food, music, entertainment and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament.
DeLand festivities included a “Strawberry Letter” stage play at DeLand High School on Jan. 18 and both a Community Worship Service at Mt. Calvary Free Will Baptist Church as well as the renaming of East Side Park to Tra Thomas Park on Jan. 19.
“Our events were well attended. DeLand MLK 2020 proved to be another great year of celebrating Dr. King’s life and legacy. We look to continue to positively impact this community and surrounding communities. We’re thankful for the contributions so many have made to make the weekend possible,” commented Mario Davis, executive director of the Volusia MLK Committee.
Ormond Beach had an MLK breakfast on Monday and Deltona held one on Jan. 18.