The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message of hope and equality will be remembered again at the University of Toledo’s Savage Arena on Jan. 20 during the annual event in his honor, the school’s president, Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, and Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins promised during a joint news conference Friday.
The event, which includes the speeches of prominent dignitaries and the voices of the Toledo Interfaith Choir, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Mr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.”
“This is a wonderful event, and I am truly grateful to you all,” Dr. Jacobs said to organizers before addressing reporters during the news conference at UT’s main campus.
“Dr. King’s iconic address about unity, equality, freedom, and justice would change the course of this great nation,” Dr. Jacobs said. “I believe it is the role of great universities like the University of Toledo to ensure the dream is within reach for all today and as the spirit of Dr. King’s life lives on into the future.”
“Defending the Dream” is the theme for the 13th annual event at the university’s main campus, and it is aimed to encourage awareness and to bring more acceptance and tolerance to combat the divisiveness in the community.
“Defending the Dream is an appropriate theme to honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King,” Mayor Collins said.
It begins at 9 a.m. Jan. 20 and will be shown live on WGTE Channel 30 and later rebroadcast.
Ray Wood, Toledo NAACP president, will give the keynote address.
In addition to the speakers, the program will feature performances by the Toledo Youth Choir and the 2014 UT MLK Scholarship recipients will be announced.
Mayor Collins said the event is appropriate and representative of the diversity the community strives to achieve. He recognized former Mayor Mike Bell for his efforts the previous four years to ensure the event continued.
The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are asked to bring a canned good or nonperishable item that will be donated to the MLK Kitchen for the Poor, 650 Vance St.
A tribute to Mr. King will also be held Jan. 17 in Bowling Green. That event, which is also free, begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Wood County District Public Library, 251 North Main St.