Tallahassee residents asked to ‘Be the Change’

“Be the change” was the theme of the day for the second annual Martin Luther King Jr. Dare to Dream Festival at Kleman Plaza on Monday.

A diverse crowd of more than 300 people gathered to celebrate King’s legacy.

Local activist Robbie Stokes, founder of the social movement “I Talk to Strangers” opened the festival with an interactive segment on how to be the change.

“Talking to strangers and putting myself in uncomfortable circumstances is how I be the change,” Stokes said.

He said having conversations with diverse groups of people not only brings about a change in the world but also brings people together.

“It’s a bonding process,” Stokes said. “It’s a healing process for a nation that is divided.”

Tallahassee Mayor John Marks attended the festival and said Tallahassee residents can make a change.

He said getting involved in the community and helping with nonprofit organizations is the best way to make positive change. Marks also said that to make change, he needs the citizens of the community to get involved.

“Change starts with me, but it can start with you, too, by getting out and getting involved,” Marks said.

Angela Hendrieth, the city of Tallahassee manager of equity and workforce development, also attended the event. She believes that people introducing themselves to strangers and smiling evokes change.

“Being an example is how I can be the change,” Hendrieth said.

Hendrieth went on to say the city of Tallahassee hosted this festival to promote community dialogue.

“This event gives people of the community a chance to interact with their neighbors,” she said.

A host of local community church groups and organizations also took the stage with music and dance to entertain the crowd.

Attendees listened to the music from Grammy nominee Ashanti the Mad Violinist and Symphony Crack Orchestra.

Jack Romberg, Rabbi of Temple Israel, also participated in the Dare to Dream festivities. He believes incorporating religion into change is a good thing.

“I feel like I can make a change by interacting positively with people everywhere I go and by teaching about religion tradition and a sense of God’s presence.”

More information on events hosted by the city of Tallahassee is available.