By Jennifer Amato
NORTH BRUNSWICK – The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was honored during a celebration of inspiration and education in North Brunswick on Jan. 15.
“How fitting it is for our community to gather and remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy,” said Lou Ann Benson, director of the North Brunswick Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services.
After Boy Scout Troop 18 led the Pledge of Allegiance, Tangie Cobb sang the National Anthem. New Destiny Worship Center offered a non-denominational prayer prior to Nathaniel Simpson of the North Brunswick Township High School choir singing “Lift Every Voice.”
Readings by Epiphani Woodard, Isaiah Dennis, Gabriela Belton and the North Brunswick Township High School’s Black Cultural Alliance followed, along with performances by Judah of New Destiny and the Bucket Brigade.
“How proud we are to live in a diverse community,” Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack said.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Awards were presented to Seema Moondra, Nina Malagi and J.D. Shorter Sr. Nominations from residents were accepted by the Department of Parks and Recreation prior to the event.
“I am so honored on this very special weekend to be accepting this award,” Malagi said. “This goes to all those children and parents who are wonderful.”
The MLK art/essay contest award recipients were Haley Davis, first place; Anuska Vakkalpgadda, second place; and Harish Krishnakumar, third place, for grades K-3. The winners for grades four and five were Madeline Colon, first place; Akshita Krishnakumar, second place; and Anika Batki, third place. Kyle Handojo received honorable mention for the 6-8 grade category.
After the Livingston Park Elementary third grade class recited King’s infamous “I Have A Dream” speech, the program concluded with Nathaniel’s rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
“[We] take with us the reflection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, legacy and importance of volunteering and community,” Benson said during her closing remarks. “As you look around the room tonight, each of us, whether we were an elementary school student, a high school student, parent or administrator, we all came together in the spirit of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: making a difference, a positive difference, for one another and for our community.”
To view the entire ceremony, visit northbrunswicknj.gov under “Video Library.”
Contact Jennifer Amato at firstname.lastname@example.org.