Monday was a super full day and rest assured it will be returned to over and over again to fill in the stories…
Lunch was inspiring as we dined and visited with the MLK celebration’s key note speaker, Lynda Blackmon Lowery.
FYI Lunch stories will be shared in other entries…
The weather had cooperated and 7 members of the Twin City family made it in to share the evening with us… Our 21 requested seats were filled and as in years past our community showed up to fill the Viterbo Fine Arts Center’s main theatre for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. La Crosse Area Celebration.
As customary the program began with an insightful welcome from Richard Kyte , Viterbo University’s director of the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership. It came as no surprise in which a worldwide survey chose Dr. King as one of top three most influential persons with the common thread being Love.
The soulful invocation by Rev. Dr. Calvin Morris was delivered in the rendition of Precious Lord, Take My Hand by Colorful Roots.
The Mistress of Ceremonies once again was Carolyn Bostrack whose comments besides introductions explained Dr. King’s Drum Major Instinct. King’s 1968 speech in Atlanta’s Ebenezer Church was the inspiration for the Legacy recognition my Natureman would be receiving.
Last year’s recipient of the Dr. MLK Jr. Leadership Award, Shaundel Spivey introduced and presented Drum Major Legacy Award. (video link to follow/ at least the acceptance speech transcript.)
The plaque’s inscription speaks for itself…
The prestigious 2020 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award went to Tracy LittleJohn, an activist who advocates for many in our Native American community including home school coordinator for the Ho-Chunk Nation La Crosse Youth and Learning and co-advising the U-WL Native American student Association along with educating others regarding racism, oppression and its impact on marginalized peoples. Her tearful speech pulled at all our heartstrings.
The Viterbo choir followed singing a traditional spiritual ‘Bound for Canaan Lan’ and would return to close the program with everyone singing Lift every Voice and Sing.
But first it was time for our keynote speaker Lynda Blackmon Lowery whose messages regarding History: Past, Present and Future were manifold but hinged on the importance of the Vote. The very reason she was marching on the Edmund Pettus Bridge at 14 years old. The Black vote was and today once again is being suppressed along with others’s constitutional right to vote. We must speak out, not just registering but going to the polls on election day and voting. (Come back for her story of crossing that bridge on Bloody Sunday. )
Ms. Lowery followed her speech presenting the award named after her to Jonah Harlan, a sophomore at Onalaska High School who spoke words of maturity in his acceptance and role in helping his peers understand their white privilege and the importance of social justice. It’s just what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King wanted us to do work together to make this world more just.
Let us Lift Every Voice and Sing…