Town Holds Inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Day Ceremony
Monday morning a standing-room only audience was on hand at Town Hall for the town’s inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.
As community members arrived at Town Hall, they were greeted by members of the Hough High School Black Student Union. Students also handed out the programs for the event. Before the ceremony began, The Famous Toastery, and Haerfest Coffee Roasting Co. laid out a tasty breakfast buffet for everyone in attendance.
Parks and Recreation Senior Program Manager Leslie Willis welcomed attendees and introduced Mayor Rusty Knox. In turn, Knox introduced Davidson resident Chandra Dubose. DuBose presented a passionate recitation of Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. She received the first of several standing ovations throughout the morning.
Davidson College junior Maurice Norman was the next on the program. He began his remarks by noting that he was grateful to be able to share space and share his truth with the crowd that had gathered. What followed was a powerful presentation that too earned a standing ovation.
Davidson first year student Jaelyn Taylor recited an original spoken word piece entitled “Sophisticated Ghettos.” Taylor also earned a standing ovation, and a few “whoops and hollers” for her powerful words.
Tracy Mattison Brandon delivered the keynote speech at the ceremony. Brandon began her remarks by thanking all those in attendance for being there to honor the social justice legacy of Dr. King. While she used several quotes from Dr. King throughout her speech, she began with “What are you doing for others?” She followed that with her own question to the audience of “what hinders us from doing good for others?”
That was followed with countless examples of the ways people can be involved in our community to make a difference for others. She challenged those in attendance get involved, with the efforts of the Room in the Inn program, Ada Jenkins, Davidson Lifeline, Davidson Housing Coalition, Grand-Friends at Davidson College, as well as the work of the town’s Park & Recreation Department.
It was Parks & Recreation Program Manager Carmen Clemsic who was the driving force behind the ceremony itself. The retired Air Force veteran said that suggesting the ceremony just seemed like the right thing to do, and noted how the military holds events like this to recognize the strength of the diversity of the military.
The town asked those in attendance to provide feedback on the event, and make suggestions for future such ceremonies.
The News of Davidson live streamed the event on our Facebook page.