Be a light for the future and eradicate darkness: message at MLK event

Published 12:26 am Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Be a light to eradicate the darkness and bloom where planted were some of the words given by the Rev. Donald Frank at the opening of the 36th Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Monday morning in Port Arthur.

The event usually has upwards of 1,000 attendees, but due to the pandemic, that number was shaved to around 400.

Frank wanted to remind those in attendance they are simply a light on assignment. This comes at a time when the world is battling the omicron variant of the coronavirus and battling voting rights issues.

Christian Manuel performs a praise dance during the 36th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Monday. (Mary Meaux/The News)

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Of writer C.S. Lewis, Frank spoke of seeds and of blooming where you are planted, whether it is in Texas, Washington, D.C., or the northwest — “we are called on to be the lights on assignment.”

“Leave his room with a purpose as a light to eradicate darkness, where voting rights are challenged, where children are living below the poverty line,” Frank said.

READ MORE & SEE MORE PICTURES: NAACP president talks of Dr. King’s dream in Port Arthur.

Taylor Getwood, the youngest person elected to serve on a school board and a current trustee with Port Arthur Independent School District, lifted his voice for the National Anthem, even when technical difficulties left him singing a cappella, a task he initiated flawlessly.

The celebration continued as Christian Manuel used flags and her body as she performed praise dance to the song Mention by FreshStart Worship, while violinist Kiana Smith performed Lift Every Voice and Sing.

The celebration honored a number of individuals for their contributions, including a Man and Woman of the Year.

Albert “A.J” Turner and Dora Nisby, who were the 2021 Man and Woman of the Year, did the honors with the surprise naming of Dr. Levy Barnes and Yolanda Avery as this year’s honorees.

Man of the Year Dr. Levy Barnes, left, Albert “A.J” Turner, Dora Nisby, and Woman of the Year Yolanda Avery. (Mary Meaux/The News)

The MLK honorees include: Yolanda Avery, Christina Delgadillo Crawford, John Eugene, Kenneth Lofton Jr., Amber Lucas and Michael Pena.

The Spirit Award went to Dr. Levy Barnes.

The scholarship recipient was Jewel Jackson.

The entertainment honoree was Audrin “Audi-Yo” Windon.

The Let Freedom Ring honorees include Bishop Kenneth Milo Sr., Dr. Janice Milo and Darrell W. Anderson Sr.

The celebration gave tribute to Constable Eddie Collins and State Rep. Joe Deshotel.

Also honored were the late Eddie Fowler and Barbara Jacket.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Support Group heads up the event annually.