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Community to honor civil rights leader at 2018 MLK Unity Celebration

The community will come together Monday, Jan. 15, to honor civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the 17th annual Unity Celebration.

“Injustice Anywhere Is a Threat to Justice Everywhere: Unifying the Community Voice” is the theme of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Celebration that will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. in Savage Arena on The University of Toledo Main Campus. The public event will include a free community lunch following the celebration.

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and UT President Sharon L. Gaber will hold a news conference Friday, Jan. 12, at 10 a.m. in the mayor’s office in One Government Center to invite community members to attend the annual event.

“Unifying our community, our families and our neighborhoods is of critical importance. I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the important tradition of remembering the life and contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Kapszukiewicz said. “This year marks the 50thanniversary of the assassination of Dr. King, so I think it is particularly important to reflect on his life, his accomplishments, and the profound impact he has had on the world.”

“Although Dr. King’s voice was silenced a half century ago, today his message still resonates,” Gaber said. “UT is proud to host this opportunity for our community to come together to celebrate and be inspired by his passionate call for equality and love and his dream for a better tomorrow.”

The Unity Celebration will feature a performance from Douglas Tappin’s “I Dream: The Story of a Preacher From Atlanta” with an introduction featuring members from the Toledo Opera chorus with special guest soloist Darnell Ishmel. The new rhythm and blues opera, which focuses on the 36 hours leading up to King’s assassination 50 years ago, will be performed locally in April when the Toledo Opera production comes to the Valentine Theatre.

The event also will include remarks from elected officials, performances by UT student Jalen Welborn, the Toledo School for the Arts, the Scott High School Marching Band and the United Vision Baptist Church Choir, and recognition of the recipients of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship and the African-American Leadership Council of United Way Scholarship Awards.