Annual MLK tribute draws a crowd

Participants as they listen to what program presenters have to say about Dr. MLK Jr. Photo by A-Chai’a Jackson

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stood for justice for all people, regardless of color or creed.

His legacy was honored Monday in Tallahassee at the “Silence is Not an Option” event, when the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People partnered with keynote speakers such as Rep. Loranne Ausley and Judge Stephen Everett to honor the late MLK, Jr.

This event consisted of a march from the C.K. Steele Bus Plaza to the front steps of the Florida Capitol. Although it was a cold and windy Monday morning, state officials, march participants and event facilitators were committed to a successful event. First vice president of the Tallahassee NAACP, Carita Evans, who organized the event.

“Today’s event was awesome. Everybody that was invited showed up, all of the city officials, police departments showed up. You have the capital police, the sheriff’s office, Tallahassee Police department, Florida A&M and Florida State University police departments showed up, so I’m very excited,” she said.

James Moran, director of alumni engagement at FAMU’s College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, gave a stirring speech.

“I’ve had the pleasure of performing this rendition of “I have a Dream” for 23 years. It’s important for our youth who may not have had an opportunity to listen to Dr. MLK Jr. and to read his letters — even from the Birmingham jail — to understand what had taken place in those years where oppression for African Americans were extremely high. Some of the events of injustices are taking place even today, so Dr. King;s speech and even his writings and marches are relevant today,” he said.

A choir performed the Negro national hymn, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and it is safe to say that everyone was “all in” as their voices rang out at the end of each presenter’s speech.

Mark Earley, supervisor of elections for Leon County, shared his expertise. “My job is to protect everyone’s right to vote and to make sure everybody has very good access to the polls. I think it boils down to this: Silence is not an option when it comes to voting, and that is the core of our government. It is important for our people to express their desire and their wisdom.

“The way to not remain silent in America is to vote,” he said.