MLK Committee to host 33rd annual Legacy of a Dream

IRVINGTON, NJ — Irvington’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee will host its 33rd annual “Legacy of a Dream Commemorative Tribute to the Life and Work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” in the Irvington High School Auditorium on Saturday, Jan. 13.

“Doors open at noon,” said Omar Bilal Beasley on Tuesday, Jan. 9. “The honorees this year are Kathy Steele and her husband, Ralph Steele, of the Irvington Pop Warner Golden Knights youth football team. The guest speaker will be Pastor Jerry Smith of Christian Pentecostal Church on Clinton Avenue. My father, this is something that he created,” he said, referring to his deceased father, D. Bilal Beasley, a longtime councilman and county freeholder.

“Martin Luther King Jr. was someone who was a trailblazer that set the way for what we continue to do today. To honor Martin Luther King Jr. and continue my father’s legacy, we put forth the effort to continue this great event.”

Essex County Freeholder Lebby Jones co-founded the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee along with the elder Beasley and helped him organize the annual event for 30 years, but this year, she won’t be involved in the event, as she’s fighting the flu.

Jones is also the president of the Irvington National Action Network, the local branch of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, which is based in New York City.

“I will be doing something for MLK Day with the county,” said Jones, who was sworn-in to another freeholder term Tuesday, Jan. 9. “I’m not sure of the date, but we usually do something for MLK Day at the county.”

Mayor Tony Vauss said Jones would be missed at this year’s 33rd annual event, but one of the lessons he had learned from the elder Beasley, his friend and mentor, was “the show must go on.”

“I’m looking forward to hosting this year’s event and honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and also the legacy here in Irvington of Mr. Beasley, our local Dr. Martin Luther King.”

To learn more about the Jan. 13 annual tribute, call 973-641-4990.