‘We remember what he did, what he sacrificed and accomplished’

The Arts Council of Princeton organized a free poster making workshop to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Andrew Harrison/ The Princeton Packet Children work on their posters at Arts Council of Princeton's poster workshop honoring and celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life on Jan. 15 in Princeton.

Celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has taken many forms through the years on MLK Day.

The Arts Council of Princeton organized a free poster making workshop for its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day program as the day this year fell on King’s actual birthday, Jan. 15.

“There are not enough communities doing this today. There are a lot of places that are not honoring Dr. King, and this is a place that is honoring Dr. King and is a community effort,” Lisa Cunningham said.

“Everyone needs to know what he did and what he still is doing even though he is no longer here. My poster’s message is that he was a great man, who did great things and people need to know what he accomplished with a lot of great people by his side.”

Inside the Robert L. Solley Theater at the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP), children, families and people of all ages filled the theater as they gathered around tables to create their posters to honor the life of King.

“Martin Luther King represents peace, love, and civil rights and he is a remarkable man. We are here to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King and his vision,” Debbie Allen said.

The ACP workshop was designed for people to create, motivate, and educate on the topic of social justice, according to the organization.

“I wanted to take advantage of the hope of Dr. Martin Luther King’s message about being serviceable to others and being equitable at the same time. I just wanted to come out and do something that serves others and is a great opportunity for myself and my kids too,” Jesse Ambriz said.

For his poster, Ambriz chose a King quote that he likes to instill in himself and his children – “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

“I want my kids to know, and this to be a message to other people that no matter what life throws your way you have to keep moving on. Dust it off and keep moving,” he added.

Andrew Harrison/ The Princeton Packet
Jesse Ambriz (left) shows his completed poster honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Children and adults alike grabbed larger paper poster boards and used photos of King, such as photos where he gave speeches to create their messages. People cut letters for their messages on love and social justice.

“I like the coloring of the March on Washington and celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.,” Gregory Benjamin said, who was with others participating from Eden Autism in the ACP’s MLK Day event.

Andrew Harrison/ The Princeton Packet
Gregory Benjamin (right) with his poster of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

One of the posters made during the afternoon workshop used a part of another quote from King – “Hate Cannot Drive Out Hate; Only Love Can Do That.”

Corby Swan and Lori Villanova focused their poster on serving, grace, and love, which they said is why it was important for them to have been at the event that day to celebrate everything that King was and still is.

“We are really here to celebrate and honor Dr. King and a great event to give back with providing some goods for the Arts Council’s MLK Day Food Drive. We chose a quote about serving, because that is something we all can do,” Swan said. “There are so many aspects of Dr. King that you cannot possibly cover with one poster.”

With so many people of different ages together and celebrating King with their poster the word of “hope” came to Swan’s mind.

“I think a lot of people treat this as a day off and I don’t want to see it like that. I want to see it as a day on and what can we do,” he said.

Villanova who was using her artistic ability to create their poster, said she is “really happy” to see the diversity in the theater of people making posters.

Andrew Harrison/ The Princeton Packet
Lori Villanova (left) with Corby Swan (center) as they finish their poster celebrating the life and service of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

During the event, the Arts Council also held its MLK Day Food Drive, which allowed for people to bring pantry-stable goods that will benefit the Princeton Nursery School, which is an educational pre-school for families in need.