SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY – (WBRE/WYOU) An event in Lackawanna County celebrating Doctor Martin Luther King Junior was postponed due to weather, but there’s still time to celebrate his legacy.
Normally, a diverse group of people would have gathered nearly a month ago, but ice and snow storms set them back.
“Fortunately the weather gods have been kind to us today, and it’s a nice day,” said president of the Greater Scranton Martin Luther King Commission, Cathy Hardaway.
That means it’s perfect timing for the the Greater Scranton Martin Luther King Commission to hold its annual celebration at the University of Scranton, an event that’s crucial to the community.
“The very reason Dr. King fought and gave his life, those issues are still very much a part of our current reality,” said Joel Kemp, an assistant theology professor at the University of Scranton.
Andrew Aydin is the co-author of the comic book series, “The March Trilogy.”
“We are still trying to build the beloved community. We are not there yet, and to have events like this, to come together, to be in fellowship, to talk about both our ideas and also the legacy,” said Aydin.
His goal is to inspire the youth on Dr. King’s everlasting impact.
“If we’re going to teach them the stories of our past, we’re going to teach them the principles of non-violence and the legacy of the civil rights movement. We have to do it in their language,” Aydin said.
This year’s celebration is themed “The March Continues: A New Era in Peaceful Activism.”
“There’s still men and women in various descents and races that are struggling to really be a part of this American nation. We try to bring people from different backgrounds, political, racial, gender, etc. to the table. We look at these issues of power, religion, and race, for better and for worse,” said Assistant Professor Kemp.
People who are making strides in bettering the community were also given awards.
“I think it’s important to recognize those in our community,” said Hardaway.
Koni Bennett of “Vanity Boutique Salon” is receiving the business of the year award.
“I’m ultimately flattered to be receiving this award today,” said Bennett.
She started “Vanity Boutique Salon” after realizing there weren’t many diverse hair salons in or near Scranton.
“It was just a passion project that has grown far bigger than I ever imagined to where were now receiving this award,” said Bennett.
Organizers say if we can take one day out of the year to fully observe Dr. King’s message of making a difference in the community, then we’re one step closer to becoming whole as a nation.
The celebration was put on by the Greater Scranton Martin Luther King Commission.