No voices captured the essence of the City of Inglewood’s 36th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. festivities better than the voices of our youth during the speech contest held on Saturday, January 19, 2019. IUSD students swept each category winning the elementary, middle, and high school divisions. LaTijera Charter School of Excellence’s Pete Asafor captured the K-2 category, while Beulah Payne student Tatyana Aubry won category 3-5 along with Crozier Middle School student Mahana Gurung winning category 6-8, and Inglewood High School student Daisy Robles seizing category 9-12.
One by one, speaking with such conviction, pride, and humility as they personally connected to this year’s theme by presenting original topics that would move America today, just as Dr. King did in his time. It all began as guests throughout the community filled the Tabernacle auditorium at Faithful Central Bible Church to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Event Chairman Henry Brown, along with Inglewood Parks and Recreation Director Sabrina Barnes, worked, tirelessly with a planning committee that also included IUSD Community Liaison Subrina Miller to organize this momentous occasion. In 1984, the City of Inglewood hosted the first Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at Darby Park. Since then, the celebration has evolved to include an ecumenical service, youth speech contest, and a symbolic march reminiscent of days past.
The coveted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Speech Contest has been the highlight of its annual King Day Celebration for more than 20 years. Contestants compete from Inglewood’s public, private and charter schools, as well as local churches. Finalists went through a competitive process as they presented before a panel of community judges. The final victors had the opportunity to present their winning speeches during the commemorative service. IUSD State Administrator Dr. Thelma Melendez expressed greetings and admiration on behalf of Inglewood Unified School District. “This celebration is an empowering reminder that each of us can blaze a trail of history that raises the spirits of those around us. I commend our outstanding students for embracing the legacy of Dr. King and challenging us all to do more.”
The morning event had many star-studded appearances including Actor Glen Turman and his wife Jo-An. Glen Turman, an Emmy Award Winner, and Veteran actor is credited with the original Broadway play 'A Raisin in the Sun' and has current roles in OWN’s ‘Queen Sugar’ and ‘How to Get away with Murder.’ Both served as Grand Marshals for the parade along with former Los Angeles Laker and current Los Angeles Sparks Head Coach Derek Fisher.
The Heritage Music Winners from p. 1 Foundation Chorale, founded by Dr. Margaret Pleasant Douroux filled the air with gospel melodies and heartfelt hymns in addition to a powerful dance performance by Glad II and the Inglewood Theatre Group. CBS2 News Anchor Pat Harvey was the Mistress of Ceremonies who engaged the crowd and kept the purpose of the day at the forefront.
Sabrina Barnes, Director of Parks and Recreation, as well as director of the King Day planning committee, states, “This year’s event was a great success. We look forward to partnering again with the District to honor Dr. King’s Legacy while also celebrating our City, community and our kids.”