These students provided comments at the King Legacy Celebration at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Monday morning. The Lifting Teen Voices members who participated are, from left, Layla Walton, St. Ursula Academy, Tamia Davis, St. Ursula Academy, Sidney Brown, Walnut High High School, and Ariella Scoburgh. Photo by Dan Yount

By Dan Yount

The 天堂影院

The highlight of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center鈥檚 MLK Day activities was a one-hour performance by and Chicago鈥檚 only all-Black professional choral ensemble, The Adrian Dunn Singers. Dunn is an acclaimed singer, composer and conductor who most recently was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Live Sound for his PBS special performance of 鈥淓mancipation鈥 at Harris Theater, which is currently streaming in rotation on PBS. 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽

鈥淓mancipation鈥 was composed by Dunn and performed by the Adrian Dunn Singers and the Rize Orchestra, fusing classical, gospel, hip hop and spirituals to explore the question: What does it mean to be Black and free in America in the 21st 肠别苍迟耻谤测?听

Woodrow Keown Jr., President and COO of the聽Freedom Center. 鈥淎s we reflect upon Dr. King鈥檚 legacy and celebrate his life, we鈥檙e honored to do so with our community. Together, we connect across generations, across politics, across identities to remind ourselves from where we have come, what we have accomplished and how far we still must go in this march toward justice and equity.鈥

The Freedom Center鈥檚 annual celebration of the life and leadership of Dr. King had the them of Advocacy & Action and featured a keynote by Dr. Adren Wilson, vice president of Youth Opportunity Programs for the Obama Foundation and executive director of its My Brother鈥檚 Keeper Alliance.

Wilson noted King鈥檚 spirit of advocacy and action.

Martin Luther King was able to face police brutality, threats to him and his family, and an unfavorable Harris Poll rating of 75 percent,” Wilson said. 鈥 But the strength of the Black church was embedded in his DNA, and the essence of his spirit is connected to us for us to pass on to other generations as attempts are still being made to erase us.鈥澛

He added that young people have always been a constant for change and justice, and he praised their support and the support of those White people and Jewish individuals who supported the movement from the beginning.

鈥淲e have always needed the fearlessness of youth and the people on the ground,鈥 he added. 鈥淚t is not enough to attend endless meetings and marching in the streets of Cincinnati. We must join the many people who have taken action (to advance the cause of justice) today, for we still have inequality and the poor. We still have a long way to go.鈥

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