EO mayor, city commemorate MLK Day with candlelight vigil

Photo by Chris Sykes
East Orange Mayor Ted Green, left, and 5th Ward Councilwoman Alicia Holman hold up their electric candles during the candlelight vigil and moment of silence outside City Hall in City Hall Plaza on Monday, Jan. 15, at the city’s official inter-faith Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance, which featured Michael Green’s performance of ‘Together We Win,’ a dramatization of King’s life from age 7 to 37.EAST ORANGE, NJ — East Orange Mayor Ted Green, the East Orange City Council, and the Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by hosting the “Together We Win” tribute to the slain Civil Rights Movement leader’s life and legacy on Monday, Jan. 15, inside Council Chambers, followed by a candlelight vigil and moment of silence in City Hall Plaza.

The event featured a one-man dramatization of King’s life and experiences from age 7 to 37 by Michael Green, who also authored the script for it.

“The Martin Luther King Jr. event set the tone for what my administration will look like for the next four years — One city, one community, one goal equals progress,’” said Green on Monday, Jan. 15. “We broke bread together and we celebrated Dr. King’s legacy through a unique historical perspective of those critical moments throughout his life that transformed him into the great leader he was. As a community, however, we were reminded that we cannot be too comfortable with the progress that we’ve made and forget that there is still more to be done. Our brothers and sisters still need us to fight for them — for jobs, quality education, safer neighborhoods, health care equity and clean places to live and play. We must remain united and use our collective power to effect positive change.”

Victoria Lewis, the Recreation Department supervisor, agreed that the “Together We Win” event was a definite change from former city MLK Day events, but she said that was a good thing.

“This is a fantastic celebration of Martin Luther King’s memory. We had an awesome program here and an awesome turnout,” said Lewis on Monday, Jan. 15. “This was different. We wanted to do something different and this is what was chosen. There were discussions and meetings about what to do and this is what was chosen. It is just the first of some new and different things that you’re going to see.”

That was very good news to Sherkera Lucas, who attended the event.

“I love Ted Green and I hope he does everything that he says he’s going to do,” said Lucas on Monday, Jan. 15. “One community, one town, that’s it. Today’s performance was awesome and unique and I loved it.”

Councilwoman Alicia Holman delivered the closing remarks at the “Together We Win” event, before everyone in attendance went outside into the cold winter evening air for a candlelight vigil, observing a moment of silence in honor of King. She said the best thing about the entire MLK Day celebration is that it was both educational and inspirational.

“To Mr. Green: I’ve learned some things that I didn’t know about Dr. King today. Wow. I really, really enjoyed your presentation today. Thank you so much,” said Holman on Monday, Jan. 15. “I recognize, my colleagues and I recognize the shoulders that we’re standing on, such as individuals such as Dr. King and, with a side note, with Coretta Scott-King. I applaud Coretta Scott-King for standing by her husband and making sure his legacy lives on, and their children are doing the same thing. We are kings and queens and, yes, we are dynamic, but we have to never forget where we come from or we’ll never get to where we want to be.”