2013 MLK Festival puts focus on future

Martin Luther King Jr. inspired people in his time, and we should follow his example, said Faye Brown Blackwell, owner of KZWA-FM and MLK Coalition organizer.

“We celebrate him because he inspired us to dream, and we should continue to inspire each other to dream as well,” she said. “He left something to inspire this generation. What are we going to leave for future generations?”

The theme for this year’s MLK Festival — “Yes, Dr. King Had a Dream; I Too Have a Dream!” — reflects that focus on the future.

Events will begin at 7:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 18, with a breakfast at Trinity Baptist Church, 1800 Country Club Road. A memorial, televised on KPLC-TV, will follow at 9 a.m.

Senior pastor Steve James will preside over the memorial, which will feature the reading of essays by elementary, middle and high school students and the presentation of the MLK Unsung Hero Award.

The weekend’s events will continue on Saturday, Jan. 19, with the stage production “You Can’t Make Him Love You” at 3 and 7 p.m. in the Central School Arts and Humanities Center. Tickets, available at the Lake Charles Civic Center, are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

The Gospel Extravaganza will be at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, in Throne of Grace Fellowship, 2401 Sixth St. Admission will be free.

The Martin Luther King Day parade will begin at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21.

“Our parade is one of the largest in Southwest Louisiana, and it’s the oldest part of this celebration,” Blackwell said. “It’s grown tremendously in the past 29 years, and there are usually around 150 entries. It’s a huge parade.”

The day’s events will end with a celebrity gumbo cookoff. The winning team will get $1,000.