Annual Madison-Dane County MLK Day Observance returns to in-person

Updated: Jan. 16, 2023 at 10:30 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The 38th annual Madison-Dane County MLK Day Observance returned to an in-person venue at the Overture Center for the Arts, welcoming Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s goddaughter as a speaker and celebrating the winners of the MLK Humanitarian Award.

The event featured several speakers, including author and goddaughter of Dr. King, Donzaleigh Abernathy, and music from the MLK Community Choir. While celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. King, the event highlighted people carrying that legacy on in the Madison area today, recognizing their work with the award. The organization behind the event, the King Coalition, said on its website the recipients’ lifetime of service “Embodied the spirit of King.”

Terri Strong received the award for her late husband, Wayne Stong, who received the award for his work in the area, which included guiding the next generation, working with the Southside Raiders, a football and cheer program.

“To give voice to people who didn’t have a voice, to lift others up, he did that on a daily basis, no effort; it was truly his purpose,” said Strong.

Dr. Charles Taylor was the other recipient. His work included using storytelling to highlight the many cultures and communities in the Madison area and playing an instrumental role in making Juneteenth a national holiday.

“And to me, it felt like people were acknowledging me for some of the things I have done, but the way I look at it, it’s what Madison has done for me, and so this gave me a chance to thank the community for the support they have given me over the years,” said Dr. Taylor.

The King Coalition also states that instead of a dinner in the return to in-person festivities, it will support efforts by Little John’s to provide free community meals to those in need.

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