Lit candles, joined hands and gospel lyrics set the stage in commemoration of the 46th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. April 4.
Liberty City residents and Miami-Dade County representatives marched their way down seventh Avenue and 62nd Street – also known as Martin Luther King Boulevard – to join the 11th Annual Candlelight Memorial and Gospel concert service honoring King’s death.
“We are gathered here today as a community, one community, remembering a man that changed the course of history in America,” said Miami City Commissioner Frank Carollo, to a crowd of just more than 100. “King’s dream resonates in everyone’s lives, the life that we enjoy and the life that we strive for.”
The candlelight service and gospel concert, which began at 6:01 p.m.— the moment King was shot on April 4, 1968 — was organized by the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corp. Cosponsors included the Belafonte Tacolcy Center and the City of Miami.
In addition to Carollo, Miami City Commissioner Keon Hardemon, who represents Liberty City, MLKEDC president and CEO Christine King and performers Karen Clark Sheard, Patti Austin and Malcolm Hawkins appeared at the event.
“What we do is try to uplift the community, remember King and the work that he was doing for us,” said Christine King. “We come together, we celebrate and we have a good time. We remember King, we honor him, and we honor those that have fallen.”
Proud of Martin Luther King’s achievements, Arnold Brown, who’s lived in Liberty City for more than 60 years, attended the event to enjoy the atmosphere with friends and family.
“I am here celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King,” Brown said. “It just reminds people to come together, everybody loves everybody and treats everybody right.”
Sophia Roberts, another Liberty City resident, said these kinds of events benefit the neighborhood because they fight its reputation for violence with positive gatherings.
Malcolm Hawkins, a solo artist who performed at the gospel concert, introduced his “rebel movement” to the crowd.
“The rebel movement promotes unity, love and peace,” said Hawkins. “The message for the people of Liberty City is keep pushing. Keep rebelling against everything that anybody told you you couldn’t do.”
The Circle of Brotherhood, which describes itself as “Black men solving their own community problems,” marched in the parade as an organization.
“The brotherhood is part of the Martin Luther King Jr. candlelight event because the brotherhood supports what Martin Luther King had a dream for,” says Jmarlin Fowles, a member of the group.
“It’s the brothers rising up and doing something positive for the community. Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream; this is his dream; we all get along.”
Contact Paola Molini at firstname.lastname@example.org