Hundreds of people gathered in Albany today at the Empire State Plaza for the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Observance.
Dr. King would have been 84 years old today - the Albany observance in his honor took place in a time of hope and change far removed from the bittersweet days of America's non-violent civil rights movement. New York's Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights, Alphonso David, read from Governor Cuomo's official proclamation marking the holiday.
The Convention Center ceremony included dramatic readings and musical performances - NY OGS Commissioner Ro Ann Destito presented Tuskeegee Airman Herbert Thorpe with a humanitarian award. The Keynote Speech at the event was given by Reverend Cordelia Wallace of Brooklyn.
The crowd was thinner than in previous years - Albany Community Advocate Marlon Anderson notes that several people left early so they could get home to see President Obama sworn in for a second term.
After the indoor event, a smaller crowd set out on the "Beloved Community March" in the cold from the plaza to nearby Lincoln Park... Along the way, everyone cheered when a bullhorn crackled with the news that President Obama had just been sworn in for his second term. - Radio DJ Sir Walford has been a fixture in the Capital Region for 38 years - the Trinidad native believes the road to change begins with children – he says there's still room for improvement.
Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings agrees - he stresses the need for better initiatives involving education.
Albany Council Member Anton Konev, a native of Russia, explains the hope generated by Dr. King's vision touches Eastern Europeans like himself.
When the wreath was laid at the King Memorial, someone remarked that Dr. King's dream has come a long way toward becoming reality