Even in the back row, the audience at St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care-Bucyrus Campus was feeling the vibe of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.
From the stirring rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” performed by the staff, clients and children at the all-ages day care, to a heartfelt reading of the “I Have a Dream” speech, the program honored the life and legacy of the civil rights leader on his 89th birthday.
“When I was a child in Mississippi, black people had to sit in the back of the bus,” an adult client told a wide-eyed group of four-year-olds from the center’s childcare program. “Now we can sit anywhere we want to, and we can take that bus just as far as we want to go. Martin Luther King, Jr. made it so.”
Inspired by King’s words, several of the clients shared dreams they had for themselves and Milwaukee. One dreamed of being able to walk again. Another dreamed of being independent and getting her own apartment. Winning the Powerball was on more than one list.
A highlight of the program was an energetic performance by Our Nation for Youth Arts & Healing (ONFYAH). Ranging in age from four to 19, the talented dance and drumming academy thrilled the audience with the traditional African Dundunba dance, demonstrating strength and courage. “We love putting smiles on people’s faces,” said the group’s Artistic Director Jo’Niece Monk. “It’s our way of keeping Dr. King’s dream alive.”