By Emmanuel Vincent
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s impact on America will forever be stitched into the fabric of society. On the national holiday in his memory, the city acknowledged the civil rights activist’s efforts in the 10th anniversary celebration of his life at the Somerville Theatre.
The theme for this year’s event was “Equality Through Access.” It was a free affair as the public was more than welcome to come and enjoy a well pit together programming. The two-hour event was filled with performances, which featured youth from the city. Readings and spoken word were also a part of the programming.
In addition, awards were given out for the 2013 MLK youth essay winners. The audience was diverse, made up of people from different nationalities and various age ranges. It was a reflection of a society that Dr. King envisioned for our nation.
Mayor Curtatone was not present as he was attending the inauguration of President Obama. However, he had a message that was read for the audience stating that he could not be there and acknowledging the importance of Dr. King’s contributions to society.
In the welcoming portion of the event, BOA President William White suggested that although Dr. King would be pleased at the social progression that has been made over the years, there are still some things that he would find alarming. The two subject matters that he brought light to were gun violence and the imbalance within the social economics of America.
Another highlight of the event was speaker Lorraine Cordeiro, an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Cordeiro mentioned that she comes from a diverse background and credited Dr. King for his work and having an affect on her being in the position that she is in today. She challenged the audience members to be active in the community. “Show the commonwealth what equality means through your actions and service.”
It is clear to Cordeiro that there is still work to be done and that we as a collective unit must keep King’s dream alive. It would be a disservice to him if the people were to be passive and not continue to build upon the foundation that he put into place.