The life, achievements and influence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shined down on all those that attended this year’s Stoneham MLK Day Celebration on Monday. The 12thannual Celebration proved to be a moving event that featured several speakers and performers who all shared strong sentiments of equality and tolerance in their words and songs.
Dr. Cheryl Motley Sanders led the Celebration Committee with support from Randy Perillo, of KnowOurTown.com, and the Boys & Girls Club of Stoneham organizers Donna DiVirgilio, Vanessa Templeman and myself. This was a very inspiring occasion for those who attended or watched via local television broadcast.
The event was full of amazing performances that showcased local talents and all paid tribute to the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Perillo did an excellent job hosting the Celebration through his ability to introduce the wide variety of speakers and performers participating in the event and his ability to maintain the day’s focus on equality.
Several musical performances throughout the Celebration helped convey Dr. King’s message through song. Young Bianca Reynolds sang a touching rendition of “Light One Candle”, which was soon followed by Jacklyn Junta singing a remarkable rendition of “I Won’t Give Up.” Next, Michael Maloney began his take on the classic “Let It Be” by asking the crowd to sing along with the chorus of the song. It was a beautiful sound as the crowd sang along in unison to his acoustic guitar. Lastly, Amanda Rocca performed “God Bless America” and certainly captivated the crowd. The beautiful music reverberated throughout the Club, which helped in deepening the emotional impact felt by the audience.
All of the speakers at the event also helped carry the sentiment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on this special occasion. The event was very inclusive in the topics that were covered, including issues related to race and ethnicity to gender identity and discrimination.
From our own Club, David Palacious discussed equality and Julia Kelly spoke eloquently on the achievements of social justice leader and Rep. Byron Rushing. The Club's tap dance class, led by Caitlin DeVine, marched in rhythm across the floor and captured everyone's attention.
Sanders, who has led and organized this event for the past 12 years, spoke of her own experiences growing up as an African-American during segregation. Her personal account was heartfelt and showed, as a society, how far we have come.
The Club enjoyed hosting this meaningful event yet again this year since one of our primary goals is to teach our younger members to be accepting of others regardless of race, ethnicity, disabilities or social class. Additionally, we hope to teach younger generations to embrace the ideals expressed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and speak up against injustices of all types.