Tallahassee residents celebrated Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday with its sixth annual MLK Dare to Dream Festival at Cascades Park on Monday, Jan. 15.
According to The Martin Luther King Dare to Dream Association, Inc. the event was held to “allow the community to gather in fellowship to continue the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is a way to celebrate his dream and inspire others to pursue their own dreams.”
At a time when racially sensitive issues are being widely discussed across the nation, community members with different cultural backgrounds showed unity by gathering to celebrate Rev. Dr. King’s legacy.
The festival emceed by comedian, Tight Mike, featured local vendors, food trucks, community service, performances and a “fun” area with inflatable bounce houses and face painting for children.
Six time Grammy-nominated artist “The Mad Violinist,” Motown Recording artist, Royce Lovett, Lacloteal, along with other local artists performed live on stage. A Tallahassee resident and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Jamarien Moore, shared his singing talent and thoughts on stage.
“One value I took from Dr. King is to ‘love your neighbor as yourself,’ no matter your race, no matter your creed, just love and treat others the way you want to be treated,” Moore said. “I’m grateful that my fraternity brother, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in his finite mind could not perceive this day, yet it started all with a dream.”
Although this year marked the 50th anniversary of Rev. Dr. King’s death, residents still eagerly gathered to reflect on the values learned from the activist and register citizens to vote – one right that King advocated for.
Tiffany Lowder is a political science student at Florida A&M University that attended the festival.
“This is a day of hope. Seeing the progress that has been made keeps me hopeful for the youth that are coming behind me,” Lowder said. “It is great to see volunteers out registering citizens to vote. With Dr. King’s march to Selma across the Edmund Pettus Bridge for a right to vote, I think it’s important for us to take that very seriously.”
Lisa Fountain, a candidate vying for Circuit Court Judge, was among the volunteers at the festival registering residents to vote.
“The importance of equality, standing up for what’s right and making a difference in the world are all values that I learned from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Fountain said. “This is an important day in our community to remember we were all created equal, and I love seeing everyone out celebrating Dr. King’s life.”