32nd annual MLK celebration scheduled for Jan. 14

Photo by Chris Sykes
Mayor Tony Vauss, left, listens during the proceedings at the 31st annual Legacy of a Dream event last year, honoring the life and legacy of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. This year’s event will be on Saturday, Jan. 14.

IRVINGTON, NJ — The Irvington Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee will host the 32nd annual Legacy of a Dream Commemorative Tribute to the Life and Work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Irvington High School Auditorium on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 2 p.m.

“Dr. October Hudley is the honoree this year,” Jamilah Beasley, the daughter of former Irvington Municipal Council President and Essex County Freeholder D. Beasley and one of the organizers of this year’s Legacy of a Dream event, said Tuesday, Jan. 10.

The local Martin Luther King Jr. Committee was founded by Jamilah’s father and current Essex County Freeholder Lebby Jones among others.

“We, the children, family and the community, see fit to continue this day of celebration, not only in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but in honor of my dad, D. Bilal Beasley,” Omar Bilal Beasley said Tuesday, Jan. 10. “Obviously, because of the work and effort that my dad saw fit in honoring this trailblazer of human rights, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we, his children, family and community, that are the bearers of his local legacy, can’t do anything less. We have to keep this tradition and part of my dad’s and Dr. King’s legacies alive and well, so we’re going to do that.”

Jones said she was glad to know the tradition she began with Beasley lives on and doesn’t require their continued supervision to continue. She will not attend this year as she will be taking a bus trip to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Jan. 14, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

“I’m glad that they’re still going to have it but, truthfully, I don’t know what’s going on with it this year,” Jones said Tuesday, Jan. 10. “Hopefully, we’re all working for the same goals, because the struggle that Dr. King died for and Bilal lived for is still going on today and we all need to do our parts to keep the legacies that they left us alive.”