Civil rights luncheon honors leaders

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    On Wednesday, some of the best, brightest and biggest names in the past and present struggle for civil rights broke bread at the Washington, D.C., Convention Center as a part of the Martin Luther King Memorial Dedication Week. 

     
    While the dedication ceremony for the MLK memorial has officially been cancelled due to a little diva known as Hurricane Irene, we still got a chance to catch up on some of the week’s events leading up to Sunday’s dedication. According to a press release from Harry E. Johnson Sr., president and CEO of the Washington D.C. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc., the event is going to be rescheduled for sometime in September or October. 
     
    Activists, historians, press and regular people alike traveled to the nation’s capital this week to commemorate and celebrate the new memorial for the radical reverend, who impacted the livelihood and future of the African-American community over 40 years ago.

    On Wednesday, a civil rights luncheon brought together everyone from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee to speak on the past and how far Black people have come in the time since Dr. King’s death. Entertainers such comedian Jonathan Slocumb and soap opera star Victoria Rowell also joined in to share their thoughts and show their support, providing some laughs and some insight for their dining guests.

     
    Jonathan, who insisted that Sister 2 Sister is one of his favorite magazines (we’re flattered, Mr. Slocumb, really!), said he was so honored to be a part of the week’s festivities. “I’m affected because I’m a Black man from Atlanta, Georgia,” he said. “It’s historical. The only thing better than being here, is being on the cover of Sister 2 Sister magazine.” 

    While he did say he was “on-call” for the rest of the weekend, we can only assume that he can sit back since Irene seems to be handling business all by herself. Either way, Jonathan said that he’s looking forward to seeing “our people together in pride and just overall exuberance about how far we’ve come. You know, this is just historical. I’m happy to be here.”

     
    We also had a chance to chat briefly with Victoria Rowell, who made a name for herself as an actress on “Young and the Restless” for several years, and she spoke on the subject of love at the event. “I’m so honored to participate,” she said. “Personally, [this weekend] has meant a reawakening of how precious our liberty is, how precious our freedom is and I know I am a direct beneficiary of Dr. King’s legacy work.”
     
    Victoria has also made her voice heard when it came to what she felt was the lack of an African-American presence on the soap scene. “’The Young and the Restless’ had not hired and African-American writer or director in 37 years—now 38 years,” she said.

    Through her efforts, Victoria is one of many who have made it clear that there is still work to be done, but she is certainly doing her part: after speaking her piece on the inequalities she noticed on-set, two African Americans, four-time Daytime Emmy winner Susan Dansby and known soap director Albert Alarr have been hired to work on the show. Victoria also expressed her desire to rejoin the cast as Drucilla Winters, the character she played during her run on the show.

     

    While, unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a month or two for the conclusion to the celebrations of this week, the dedication will be open for the public to enjoy starting on Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon. 

    Check out pics of the memorial below!

     

     

    —Ariana Gordon

     

    Here’s more: 
    Victoria Rowell airs out soap opera

    MLK Jr. Memorial Message in the Music delivers message, light on star power

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