The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday will be marked by a variety of observances throughout Western New York over the next few days, including an annual celebration in Kleinhans Music Hall hosted by the Concerned Citizens Following the Dream committee.
“Fulfilling the Dream Moving FORWARD” will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday in Kleinhans. Gospel music, speakers and performing artists will be featured, including dancers from the African-American Cultural Center, the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and the Hutchinson-Central Technical High School Band, said committee Chairwoman Bessie Patterson.
Award recipients at the event include: Theodore Kirkland, community activist; Maria Rivera, Hispanic community service; Lana Benatovich, community leadership; the Rev. William A. Bunton, interfaith; Bishop Michael A. Badger, interfaith; Christine Demetria Wing, education; Mary H. Gresham, education; and Carl Scanlon and Candice Titus-Fuller, community service.
Also, 17 local high school students will be presented certificates encouraging them to pursue higher education. They are Checolathiwot Teraga, Nataija Lewis, Adra Tigg, Carlos Siragusa, Jasheka Carson, Le’Andrea Beecher, Brandi Kriegeaum, Mark Oliver, Diamond Hayes and Quamaine Austin, all from McKinley High School; Winnie Prude of Emerson High School; Rita Prude, of International Prep; Deja and Dzare Triplette and Leah Harris of Charter School for Applied Technologies; and Anyurisa Soto and Serena Rodriguez, both of Riverside High School.
The keynote speaker will be Da’Lonce Blackman, a senior at Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts.
Mayor Byron W. Brown and Buffalo School Superintendent Pamela Brown are scheduled to offer remarks.
Other MLK programs in the area include:
• “Better Health Care for All: The Third Annual Community Gathering to Celebrate the Life & Times of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” The program is hosted by the African-American Roswell Employee Network at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. It begins at noon Thursday in the Dr. David C. Hohn Lecture Hall at Carlton and Elm streets. The Rev. Kinzer Pointer, pastor of Agape Fellowship Baptist Church, will recite excerpts from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
The Futures Academy School 37 Chorus and the Martin Luther King Multicultural Institute School 39 Drum Quartet will perform. Remarks will be given by Brian C. Springer, executive vice president at Roswell Park. Also, two Roswell Park employees will receive the “Capturing the Dream” recognition awards. Keynote addresses will be given by the Rev. James Lewis III, pastor of Miracle Missions Full Gospel Church and director of pastoral care at Erie County Medical Center. A reception will follow the celebration.
• The 35th annual celebration of King’s life at noon Thursday in the Central Library auditorium. Music, poetry and dance will be featured. Scheduled participants include Betty Jean Grant, majority leader of the Erie County Legislature; former Buffalo Common Council Member Clifford Bell; Eva Doyle, columnist, historian and retired Buffalo Public Schools teacher; Library Director Mary Jean Jakubowski; Ellen E. Grant, Buffalo deputy mayor; storytellers Sharon Holley and Yvonne Harris; members of the Colored Musicians Club; and dancer Aminata Mitchell.
• A ceremony hosted by the Veterans Administration Western New York Healthcare System at noon Friday in Freedom Hall at the hospital, 3495 Bailey Ave. The Rev. Benita Keith of Greater Refuge Temple of Christ will provide the keynote address. Violinist Jalilyah Linton and singer Jacob Fabry will perform.
• “Seize the Opportunity: Strategies for Small Business Start-Ups” from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Diefendorf Hall, University at Buffalo South Campus on Main Street. Hosted by Alpha Kappa Apha Sorority, Gamma Phi Omega and Gamma Iota chapters, the seminar will feature information on turning hobbies, talents and interests into small-business opportunities.
Each event is free and open to the public.