From hip-hop dances to thoughtful essays, Gwinnett County leaders, community members and students gathered yesterday to sing their diverse praises to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The celebration, sponsored by the United Ebony Society for 12 years running, was held at .
“I look into this crowd and I see unity,” said Nadege DeMaitre, a teacher at who recognized student essays on the subject of diversity. “I know Dr. King is looking down on us and he is smiling.”
The essays, which came toward the end of the program, gave a glimpse into what the legacy means to the students of a diverse county. “His words show us that one individual can make a difference,” said Jaden Fontaine, a student at .
“Dr. Martin Luther King is the very face of equality and unity,” student Kayla Nicholson said eloquently, reading from her essay.
Xavier Lewis, of “America’s Got Talent” fame, got the crowd of a few hundred in a frenzy early with his rendition of the powerful Sam Cookie song “It’s Been a Long Time Coming.” (Lewis will preview his new single “Georgia Clay” on MLK Day on 11 Alive News at 6 p.m.)
The New Kn.E.R.D.s also wowed the crowd with their moves, rhymes and positive message. The Kn.E.R.D.S., which stands for knowledgeable, educated, relentless, driven scholars, are a group of students from Nesbit Elementary that do educational hip-hop performances. With lyrics like,“Forget what you heard, make it cool to be a nerd,” they got the crowd’s attention.
The program did take on a more serious, reflective tone at times. Emcee for the afternoon, Demetrius Jordan, Regional Director for the United Way, paused to remember . “We’ve been able to make so many accomplishments and strides because of this leadership,” said Jordan.
The new principal of Meadowcreek, Tommy Welch, followed with an emotional speech about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “He could find love for people who did not love him,” said Welch. He referenced the communities and family that raised Dr. King, and encouraged the local community to be as nurturing and loving as his was.
The Singers of the South from and the SAPHIRE Dance Team from Nesbit Elementary also performed.