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2019 MLK Celebration Inspired by Youth - Source Connection news papers

Posted on Jan 30,2019
Filed Under Entertainment , Local Style,
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The choirs combined for the finale. Photo by Mary Paden

Source Connection news papers

ALEXANDRIA, VA. -
The 2019 Martin Luther King Celebration at Bethlehem Baptist Church Saturday, Jan. 19, was especially inspiring because of the participation of area youth — both as speakers and choir members.

The winners of an essay contest entitled "What would the world be like if Dr. Martin Luther King had never lived?" read their work interspersed with performances by choirs — two of them youth choirs — and remarks by Rev. Abraham Smith, master of ceremony and pastor of First AME Church of Alexandria, and Joe Fay, Ventures in Community co-facilitator.

The event was sponsored by Ventures in Community, a 50-year-old faith-based group in Mount Vernon.

Rev. Dr. Darrell K. White, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, gave an opening prayer. Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck and School Board chair Karen Corbett Sanders attended.

The winning essay was by Obinna Ekeagwu, a Mount Vernon High School sophomore, who was unable to attend because of a family emergency, but sent a youtube video of himself reading his essay [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuSnKxojlOo], but due to technical difficulties, the essay was read by a member of the AME choir. The second place winner was Jeremiah Finley, a West Potomac High School senior, and third place went to Victoria Laffitte, a Mount Vernon High School sophomore. The contest, open to all high school students in Mount Vernon District, carried cash prizes.

The Bethlehem Baptist Church Women's Choir opened the event, but the show was stolen by two youth choirs, the First AME New Beginnings Choir, and the Home School Chorus of Northern Virginia, which performed separately and then together as the combined choirs and audience sang the civil rights anthem, "We Shall Overcome."

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