Martin Luther King III will be the keynote speaker March 23 at the second annual Dee and Doc Melton Sr. Banquet. The event will be held at Leroy Rogers Center at 5 p.m.
Humanitarians will be honored during the banquet in several chosen categories. The honorees are people throughout Tift County and will be recognized for their services and contributions. Many people are not aware of who these people are or what they did in the communities of Tift County, because they never received any recognition. Some are honored posthumously, and others who are still living will be honored as well.
As far as event speaker, “Martin Luther King III is carrying the torch lit by both of his parents into the 21st century. His dedication to creating and implementing strategic non-violent action to rid the world of social, political and economic injustice has propelled him to the forefront as one of the nation's most ardent advocates for the poor, the oppressed and the disillusioned,” said Rue’Nette Melton, who is one of the event’s organizers.
A graduate of his father’s alma mater, Morehouse College (B.A. in political science 1979), King was elected to political office in 1986 as an at-large representative of Fulton County.
“Mr. King is committed to the personal and educational development of youth and has initiated several programs throughout the years to support and nurture young people. Among them are the King Summer Intern Program designed to provide employment opportunities for high school students; Hoops for Health – a charity basketball game held to increase public awareness of newborns suffering the effects of substance abuse; and A Call to Manhood – an annual event designed to unite young African American males with positive adult role models,” said Melton.
“One of Mr. King’s ongoing collaborations is with the annual Kindness and Justice Challenge sponsored by Do Something, Inc.”
After help stage non-violent protests around the world against such things as apartheid in South Africa, King began his tenure in 1998 as President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
“(During his time there), the SCLC convened police brutality and racial profiling hearings in several states that led to the passage of anti-racial profiling resolutions,” said Melton.
In 2003, Kng co-sponsored the 40th anniversary of the historic March On Washington with human rights organizations from across the country.
In 2006, he founded the nonprofit organization Realizing the Dream, Inc., which eventually merged with The King Center in 2010. The group took the message of his father to a receptive global audience, spearheading non-violence education workshops and programs in Bosnia Herzegovina, India, Israel & Palestine, Kenya, Sri Lanka and the United States. Through a mix of nonviolence conferences and youth development programming, Realizing the Dream sought to bring Dr. King’s message to a new generation with Mr. King leading the way.
King spoke on behalf of the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nominee, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, at the Democratic National Convention. The event marked the 45th anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech. King said his father would be "proud of Barack Obama, proud of the party that nominated him and proud of the America that will elect him."
On Jan. 19, 2009, the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday, King joined with President Obama in painting and refurbishing the Sasha Bruce Youth work shelter for homeless
teens in northeast Washington to help encourage the nationwide day of community service on the King holiday.
King received one of India's most prestigious honors on Sept. 19, 2010, the Ramakrishna Bajaj Memorial Global Award for outstanding contributions to the promotion of human rights at the 26th Anniversary Global Awards of the Priyadarshni Academy in Mumbai, India.
Last yar, King launched a nationwide initiative “Saving Lives, Building Dreams!” which highlights youth violence prevention as a public health issue.
Last year Martin Luther King III Institute for Social Justice and Human Rights partnered with Prevention Institute's UNITY initiative to launch Community & Thriving Youth. This two-year national initiative will honor and advance his father’s vision of peace and non-violence.
“Throughout his life, Martin Luther King III has worked with individuals deeply committed to the struggle for human rights and a nonviolent society,” said Melton.
“I am truly honored to call Martin III my friend and have him as the keynote speaker of Dee and Doc Melton Sr., Banquet.”
Banquet tickets can be purchased through the Humanitarian Committee, Dee and Doc Melton Sr. Culture Ministries, 392-1979; Fran Kitchen, at Leroy Rogers Center, 391-9299; and at Odyssey Records in Albany.