Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
On this day in 2024, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have turned 95 years old. Like many places around the world, Milwaukee is celebrating the legacy of Dr. King Jr. The YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee held its 27th annual Dr. King Celebration presented by Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin at Potawatomi Casino Hotel where Milwaukee leaders, stakeholders, business owners, and youth gathered to celebrate the day.
The theme of the day was a quote from Dr. King himself, “what affects one…affects all.
The celebration featured breakfast, a performance of the unofficial Black American National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice & Sing”, a Hip-Hop dance from the Milwaukee nonprofit True Skool, and remarks from Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, and Potawatomi CEO Dominic Ortiz.
“Dr. King left us not only hope but he also left us a number of lessons. Dr. King calls upon all of us to be active in the fight for civil change,” said Mayor Johnson.
A big focus of the celebration was taking a deeper look at key issues affecting the community and the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“We know we have more work to do and Dr. King’s teachings continue to be as relevant as ever,” said U.S. Senator Baldwin.
According to the YMCA’s site, one of the goals of the event was to provide insight into how to build a more equitable society and to leave the audience inspired by Dr. King’s vision to hopefully motivate them to continue the work he started.
“It means something powerful to be here for Dr. King, for fighting for civil rights, for voting rights, for economic equality…to be respectful to all no matter what your shoes look like or the color of your skin,” said Ortiz.
Youth Development Winner
Along with celebrating Dr. King, locals were honored for their contributions to the community. The African American Breastfeed Network, a nonprofit focused on improving maternal-child health, was honored with the Healthy Living Award presented by GE Healthcare. Re-Imagine, a nonprofit focused on increasing and diversifying the teacher pipeline, won the Social Responsibility Award presented by Molson Coors. Yet, the true star of the event was Samuel Clemens School fifth grader Journee Grandberry.
Grandberry won the Youth Development Contest presented by Northwestern Mutual for her speech on Dr. King’s impact and what we all can do to change the world for the better. With a big smile and lots of confidence, Granberry read her speech to the audience with her father right by her side.
“As students, it starts with us. Bullying, fighting, and disrespect spread negativity to everyone. Instead, I challenge us to speak love and understanding. Criticizing people for who they are because we don’t agree is wrong. If one person feels bad because they can’t express themselves it says something about all of us.”– Journee Grandberry
Grandberry was met with a standing ovation.
This celebration is one of many around Milwaukee to honor Dr. King.
Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.