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Martin Luther King, III, Launches Arlington’s MLK Celebration with Challenge to Leave World a Better Place
By Lindsey Perkins Wade
Posted on January 13, 2018, January 13, 2018

Hundreds gathered in UT Arlington's University Center Friday night to kick off the four-day Arlington MLK Celebration with the "Advancing the Dream" Awards Banquet. This year's theme was "Change Begins With Me."

At center stage was civil rights advocate Martin Luther King, III, the oldest living child of icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"It is an honor to have [Dr. King's] son here," said Arlington resident Stephanie Moore, emphasizing the word honor. Moore's friend, Jerilyn Edmonds, agreed with her as they discussed Dr. King's legacy and how this event served as a way to celebrate it.

"Martin Luther King stood for everything but division," Moore continued. Edmonds nodded and added, "He wanted peace and unity for all people. His son is a great choice for a speaker."

Martin Luther King, III, took to the podium during dinner and had multiple things to share with the crowd, ranging from the message that MLK Day is about community service and empowerment, to reminders that everyone's destiny is tied together and that everyone must treat women with respect and dignity.

Channeling the theme of the night, he ended with a story about an inscription he saw on a Horace Mann statue that has always stayed with him: "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

"You may say, "Brother King, that's too grandiose,'" King said. "No. You can win a victory in your neighborhood, you can win a victory in your school or in your community…What those words basically mean are, be ashamed to die until you have done a little something to make the world in which we all must live a little better than it was when you arrived."

In addition to the prestigious speaker, many community leaders l ikewise had reflective and mindful messages for the crowd, acknowledging the progress made since King's death nearly 50 years ago, such as UTA awarding the most bachelor's and master's degrees to African American students in the state, but that work still needs to be done.

The event also recognized students through its art, writing and service scholarships provided by Atmos Energy, totaling $5,500. High school students Reem Alwan, Harley Hudson and Danielle Middleton won first, second and third in the MLK Celebration's art contest. Isaac James, Andrea Villagomez and Taryn Cates took top honors in the essay contest. UT Arlington sophomore Dorian Strong was recognized with the Spirit of Service Collegiate Scholarship.

And the following community members were recognized by in their respective fields: Michael Hill and Zeb Strong Jr. (education), State Rep. Chris Turner (government), Charles Jackson (community individual) and Arlington Black Chamber of Commerce (community group).

Other events this weekend include the MLK Step Competition and Jazz Meets Poetry events on Saturday, the Dr. King & Hubert Moss Ecumenical Service on Sunday, and the Day of Service and Youth Musical Extravaganza on Monday. For more details, visit

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