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MLK Jr. Day: Hundreds gather in The Woodlands to celebrate life of King Jr.

January 16, 2018 GMT

Hundreds of members of The Woodlands community came out Monday to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at the 30th annual commemorative celebration of the iconic civil rights activist.

The celebration, hosted by Impact Church in The Woodlands, is in its third decade and featured various choir performances and an awards ceremony. The event has become a staple in the community, drawing crowds of people from all faiths, religions, races, colors and creeds.

Although the ceremony was “hosted” by the Impact Church, the celebration festivities took place at The Woodlands United Methodist Church, where enthusiastic audiences clapped along to the voices of chorus member rejoicing in songs about faith, peace and worship.

During a commemorative tribute and testament to the civil rights leader-who, if alive today, would be 89 years old-Windsor Village Senior Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell juxtaposed King’s “dream” with that of recent vulgar language used by President Donald Trump.

“We have the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, who he was arguably the iconic civil rights activist,” Caldwell said. “We will celebrate the civil rights activist when we are arguably walking through the most uncivil times. The toxicity in the air that’s being ushered in by some leaders is absolutely deplorable and totally unacceptable.”

Caldwell referenced comments Trump made last week where he used the phrase “shithole countries” to describe Haiti, El Salvador and the 54 countries in Africa.

Recounting a personal anecdote, Caldwell described two incidents in which his son and daughter were subject to hate speech by people living in the community.

“Just because he’s black,” Caldwell said. “You have to understand that when something like that happens, it doesn’t just hurt the son, it hurts the parents.”

To make a point about helping a wounded neighbor, Caldwell recited the parable of the “Good Samaritan” as told by Jesus in the Bible and which King Jr. referenced in one of his famous speeches in 1968.

While thanking police officers for their hard work, Caldwell called for a change in the way black males and police officers interact.

According to a 2017 Washington Post report, 223 black people out of a total of 963 people were shot by police nationwide in 2017.

“This systemic annihilation of young black males by police has to stop,” Caldwell said.

Scholarships and awards were also presented to students and those deserving of recognition during Monday’s celebration.

A handful of scholarship were presented to students who would be attending colleges ranging from Louisiana Southern University and Yale to Texas A&M and the University of California at Berkeley.

Former NFL defensive end Ellis Wyms, who played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Seattle Seahawks and the Minnesota Vikings, took home one of the 2018 Major Drum Awards. Wyms was totally shocked when he heard his name. The former NFL star called the Drum Major Award “the best award I have ever gotten in my life,” he said.

“Because this something that the community really needs,” Wyms said. “It’s very, very meaningful. Football is great but when you can give back into the community and really help people and really help children to give them the opportunity to have a successful future-that means more than a Super Bowl ring or a Lombardi trophy or any other award you can get in any sport.”

Mythiquer Pickett, founder of We See Abilities, was the second recipient of the Drum Major Award.

The Drum Major Awards are given to a woman, man, organization or business that best exemplifies the ideals of King Jr.

Master of Ceremonies, the Honorable Teta V. Banks, president of the United Nations Association of the USA, quoted King Jr. and encouraged the crowd to work toward making his dream a reality.

“It is a dream deeply rooted in the scripture,” she said. “Deeply rooted in the moral movement for justice. In spite of those who may proffer that might makes right. In spite of those who hate. We must continue to hold fast for the dream.”