Rhode Island celebrates legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As the nation honors the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., several events were planned across Rhode Island on Monday to pay tribute to the civil rights icon.

Local leaders joined the Rhode Island Ministers Alliance at the 37th Annual Martin Luther King Scholarship Breakfast to announce scholarships being awarded to several college students to help them in their pursuit of higher education.

“As we remember one of our nation’s greatest heroes, we must also ask ourselves how we can carry on the work he began,” Gov. Gina Raimondo said in a statement. “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is one of justice, love, and equality, and it’s more important than ever that we recommit to those values and stand together against racism and bigotry in all forms. We must continue working together to ensure that all Rhode Islanders have a fair shot, regardless of the color of their skin, how they worship or who they love.”

During her speech at the breakfast, Raimondo announced new criminal justice reforms.

“Every citizen deserves to know that their criminal justice system is one truly rooted inequality and fairness,” she said. “We made major progress in my first term with our Justice Reinvestment work but significant challenges remain. These new reforms will help eliminate barriers to reentry and shift the focus of our juvenile justice system towards rehabilitation and opportunity.”

The Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission held its annual celebration of his life at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Providence Monday evening.

The public was invited to the event that included remarks by commission members and state and religious leaders along with musical performances and the presentation of several awards.

Raimondo and U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse also attended.

Here are some other local Martin Luther King Jr. Day events that occurred on Monday:

  • The Providence Children’s Museum had a play called “M.L.K.: Amazing Grace” where award-winning storyteller and actor Rochel Coleman and fellow actors brought history to life through songs and stories as portraying Civil Rights activists Rosa Parks, Ralph Abernathy and more.
  • RISD held a brunch at The Met honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while listening to live jazz band performance and enjoying brunch specials featuring many of Dr. King’s favorites.
  • Mixed Magic Theatre in Pawtucket had Ricardo Pitts-Wiley present a dramatic reading of “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” and Kim Trusty sang Freedom Songs.

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