By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- Events all over the county this week and over the coming weekend will honor the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
This year's theme for the week-long celebration is "Reaching Beyond the Dream," and it kicked off with an opening reception on Jan. 11 at the Indian River State College student union in Fort Pierce.
Sponsored by the Delta Lambda Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, the reception featured IRSC President Edwin Massey as a guest speaker.
Also begun on Jan. 11 was a "Week of Kindness," sponsored by the Treasure Coast Chapter of the Charmettes. The group looks for nominations for schools, churches, youth or others who take a week of their time to help others.
"Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream to change the world and make it a better place for mankind," said Delores Hines, a member of the Charmettes and chairwoman for the week of kindness program.
"In his honor, we encourage people to do something special for the less fortunate."
From the nominations sent in, the committee will choose the top three each in the categories schools and churches and other organizations. Winners will be announced and awards presented at the Lawnwood Stadium festival in the park on Jan. 21.
On Saturday, Jan, 12 a youth symposium was held at Lincoln Park Academy, followed by an essay and oratorical contest.
These events were sponsored by the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Elementary, middle and high school students also gave speeches at the event.
On Wednesday, St. Paul AME Church in Fort Pierce held an interfaith service and musical concert, and on Thursday a candlelight march was held on Avenue D in Fort Pierce.
On Friday, Jan. 18, the C.A. Moore Elementary School in Fort Pierce held a spelling bee.
On Jan. 19, an awards breakfast will be held at the IRSC public safety complex training in Fort Pierce. The guest speaker is newly elected St. Lucie County Commissioner Kim Johnson.
"The awards breakfast gives awards to students for being active in their schools and community," said Ms. Hines.
In Port St. Lucie, a family fun day will also be held from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 19 at Whispering Pines Park, located at 800 S.W. Darwin Road in Port St. Lucie. Admission is free and will include bounce houses, kids' activities, music, food, a "march through the park" and a guest speaker, newly elected State Rep.Larry Lee Jr.
On Jan. 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there will be a grand parade starting at Avenue I and MLK Boulevard in Fort Pierce at 10 a.m. Lineup begins at 9 a.m. The parade will travel to Lawnwood Stadium on Virginia Avenue in Fort Pierce, where a festival in the park will be held starting at 12 p.m.
In Port St. Lucie, the Caribbean American Cultural Group will hold an ecumenical service honoring the life and work of Dr. King from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 260 S.W. Prima Vista Blvd. in Port St. Lucie. The speaker will be the Rev. Randolph Bracy Jr., senior pastor of New Covenant Baptist Church in Orlando.
"We start planning for next year's event as soon as this year's is done," said Ms. Hines. "When it started many years ago, it was only a one-day event. It has grown so much over the years."