The Dream Continues: Lexington’s MLK Day to feature Danny Glover
BY GAIL HAIRSTON
Lexington has a date with Danny Glover on Jan. 18. The actor, director, producer, humanitarian and political activist will speak at Lexington’s 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance. That’s not unusual for Glover; he often has a speaking engagement on that special day.
“Every day of my life I walk with the idea I am black no matter how successful I am,” Glover has said.
Many know Glover only in his roles in the entertainment industry. With a career spanning more than 30 years, he is one of the most respected actors working today. He is well-known for his roles in the Lethal Weapon series, The Color Purple, Places in the Heart, and Silverado and has starred in dozens of other movies, television shows and theatrical productions.
But it’s the other face of Glover that Lexington will see on Jan. 18.
In August 1963, Glover was an impressionable 17-year-old when King’s “I Have a Dream” speech echoed from the columns of the Lincoln Memorial. He has said at a number of events that Martin Luther King Jr. inspired him as a young man, attributing his commitment to activism and humanitarianism to the legendary social leader…and his parents, who were active in the civil rights movement and the American Postal Workers Union.
The demands made by King and five other prominent civil rights leaders during the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom resonated with the teenager: the end of public school segregation; civil rights legislation prohibiting racial discrimination in employment; protection of civil rights workers from police brutality; and a $2 minimum wage for all workers.
Later, as a student at San Francisco State University, he joined the Black Student Union and with representatives of other groups, including the American Federation of Teachers, in organizing a five-month student strike for equal educational access and to establish a Department of Black Studies and America’s first School of Ethnic Studies.
Glover has regularly supported humanitarian causes around the world. Internationally, Glover has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program, focusing on issues of poverty, disease and economic development in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. He currently serves as UNICEF Ambassador.
Drawing from expertise and experience, Glover contextualizes contemporary issues and offers practical wisdom to new generations on building peace, unity and democracy across racial, ethnic and gender lines. His talents promise an inspiring day for Lexingtonians.
“Each year the MLK events remind us to treasure our civil rights and the diversity that makes us stronger, makes us more competitive and enriches our culture,” Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said.
Lexington’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day begins at 10 a.m. with the traditional Freedom March in downtown Lexington, followed by the commemorative program featuring Glover as the keynote speaker at 11 a.m. in Heritage Hall. The program also includes Miss Kentucky Clark Davis, a voice performance and political science sophomore at the University of Kentucky. Later, a free showing of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom will be at the Kentucky Theatre at 2:30 p.m.
MLK DAY AT A GLANCE
January 18, 2016
MLK Day in Lexington begins with the Annual Unity Breakfast at 6:30 am at the Lexington Convention Center. The purpose of the Unity breakfast is to commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his ideals for peace and unity.
The Unity Breakfast is followed by the annual Freedom March in downtown Lexington at 10 am.
The March is followed by an address by this year’s keynote speaker, Danny Glover, at Heritage Hall at 11 a.m.
One World Film Festival presents a special showing of Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom at 2:30 pm at the Kentucky Theatre. The film is based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, which chronicles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country’s once segregated society. Idris Elba stars.
Transy will host a MLK Day Community Gathering at 6:30 at the campus center gym.
This story originally appears on page 4 of the Jan 2016 issue of Ace.
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