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City of Springfield Hosts Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration and Flag Raising Ceremony

|   City News

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno brought greetings and opened a powerful day of celebration and remembrance at city hall today, as state and community leaders gathered to honor the legacy of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With mayoral aide Shenell Ford presiding over the event, multiple speakers rose to speak on the importance of Dr. King’s message, as well as amplifying calls to continue to fight for the same beliefs and ideals of Dr. King and his legacy. Among the distinguished cadre of speakers were Congressman Richard Neal bringing regards from the U.S. House of Representatives and speaking upon the historical aspects of when Dr. King was invited to provide the Commencement speech at Springfield College in 1964; State Representative Bud Williams spoke on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and City Councilor Lavar Click-Bruce on behalf of the Springfield City Council. Councilor Click-Bruce also introduced the youth speaker, Zhanadia, who gave a heartfelt speech.

President of the Greater Springfield NAACP Bishop Talbert Swan gave a rousing and powerful keynote speech on the call to continue the legacy and work of Dr. King.  Rev. Mark A. Baymon Sr. gave the Invocation, and Rev. Samuel Saylor closed the ceremony with a benediction.  The Golden Voice of Springfield Vanessa Ford led the sizable crowd in a rendition of ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’.

Mayor Sarno swore in Bishop Swan as President for the Greater Springfield NAACP and State Representative Williams swore in the elected officers for the NAACP. 

The celebration culminated in a raising of the Dr. MLK Jr. flag outside of City Hall. 

Other officials in attendance included State Senator Jacob Oliveira, State Representatives Orlando Ramos and Carlos Gonzalez, City Councilor Tim Allen, Board of Police Commissioner Robert ‘Cee’ Jackson, Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood, Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, Lamari Jackson representing the Office of State Senator Adam Gomez, Kristen Elechko, Regional Director for US Senator Edward Markey, and Mark Antonio from US Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Office.

Mayor Sarno on the day’s message and meaning, “As we come together today to celebrate the memory and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we must all continue to aspire to and champion Dr. King’s ideals for the betterment of all in our community, no matter one’s creed, color or background.  It is also important to remember and embrace the many partnerships we have.  This was especially true for Dr. King who had a wonderful and tremendous partner in his wife, Coretta Scott King, who herself was a strong and passionate advocate for the civil rights movement and stood with him and supported him through it all.  To carry on their legacy so we can all achieve the ‘Dream’ he was aspiring for, we need to come together in unity, prayer and action to continue to build upon the work of Dr. King and those who followed in his footsteps.”

“I want to thank my Mayoral Aide Shenell Ford for helping to coordinate this wonderful event,” Mayor Sarno continued.  “Special thanks to our good friend Congressman Neal for his continued advocacy on the federal level as he continues the battle for us in memory of the late Congressman John Lewis.  Thank you to our state delegation, especially Representatives Bud Williams, for their efforts and leadership on the state level, and thank you to our religious and community leaders, specifically Rev. Baymon, Rev. Saylor, and Bishop Swan, for their spiritual leadership and guidance.”

Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm