The city of Southfield and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force will host the 34th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Peace Walk Celebration on Monday, January 21 beginning at 9 a.m. at Hope United Methodist Church, 26275 Northwestern Highway. This year’s theme will be Celebrating Diversity in honor of Southfield’s rich history of cultural and religious diversity and inclusion.
The peace walk will depart from Hope United at 9:30 a.m., followed by an 11 a.m. program at the Southfield Pavilion, located in the Southfield Municipal Complex at 26000 Evergreen Road. This year’s program will feature Master of Ceremonies Roop Raj from Fox 2 News and a keynote address by Southfield Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Green. The program will also include remarks from Mayor Kenson Siver, MLK Task Force President Patricia Haynie, and MLK Task Force founder Barbara Talley as well the Presentation of Colors by the Southfield Police & Fire Departments Color Guard; the Star Spangled Banner performed by Cantor David Propis of Congregation Shaarey Zedek; and other performances and special presentations by local students and school groups including the Levey Middle School Jaguars Marching Band.
“Now more than ever, in these divisive turbulent times, we need to embrace the philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., emphasizing our commonalities rather than our differences,” commented MLK Task Force President Patricia Haynie. “Our nation must come together in love and brotherhood.”
The program will also include the presentation of the 2019 MLK Community Service Award, the MLK Youth Service Awards and the Greg Kennedy Community Service Award.
“The theme ‘Celebrating Diversity’ is reminiscent of the 32 Southfield residents who came together in 1985 to form a Peace Walk and Program to remind us of those involved in the Civil Rights movement, many of whom walked and died for peace, justice and equality for all people,” added Barbara Talley, co-founder of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force. “Thirty-four years later, Southfield residents and those from other communities will walk and continue to keep the Dream Alive. We are not only the oldest MLK peace walk, but also the largest celebration of Dr. King’s holiday in the state of Michigan.”
Southfield was the first city in the state of Michigan to hold a Dr. King peace walk or march. The first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Walk took place on January 20, 1986, commemorating the first national observance of Dr. King’s birthday. The walk continues to grow in size and scope each year, with year-long educational and community outreach activities.