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Students share work inspired by MLK at annual birthday celebration at the Marcus January 14th

The 34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration, coordinated by the MLK Steering Committee, will be held on Sunday, January 14th, 2018 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

The program will begin at 1:00 PM in Uihlein Hall and highlight our youth who interpreted Dr. King's works through art, speech and writing contests.

The only cities that have celebrated Dr. King's Birthday annually since 1984 are Atlanta, Georgia and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Paul Mathews, Marcus Center President and CEO, says he is especially proud of the increasing participation with each passing year.

"Over 3,000 students participated and we're grooming Milwaukee's future leaders.  

The theme for this year's program is "Take a Stand for Truth & Justice."

Ariana Cawthorn from Eastbrook Academy received 1st place in the WE Energies essay contest.

She read a portion of her work live on the CBS 58 News at 4.

She says taking part is about fulfilling the legacy of the civil rights icon.

The spoken word is just one of the ways young people are expressing themselves. There will be various presentations that highlight King's work through music, dance, and song.

This year's performers include: The Milwaukee Flyers Tumbling Team, MPS' Milwaukee High School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble, Latino Arts Strings, United Indians of Milwaukee and more.

This year there will be a new performing art group, which is O.N.F.Y.A.H (Our Nation For Youth Arts & Healing). Through sound and movement, O.N.F.Y.A.H (Our Nation for Youth Arts & Healing) provides the power to heal, build self-esteem and knowledge of thyself through song, dance, and drum.

The professional dance and drum company was founded by Akinyomi Courtney and Jo'Niece Monk with the mission of providing youth ages 4-19 a positive outlet while experiencing West African culture and African American influences throughout the African diaspora. O.N.F.Y.A.H strives to give children the chance to experience their culture by using drumming and dancing to create confidence, a sense of community, and a safe space to heal.

The event concludes with the Paulette Y. Copeland Reception at 3:00 P.M.

Admission to this event, as well as the reception, is free and open to the community.

Complimentary parking in the Marcus Center Parking Structure will also be available.

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