Celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King isn't something that should be confined to one group of people, say the organizers of Hamilton's Martin Luther King Day event.
"It's not about one community," said Evelyn Myrie, executive director for the Hamilton Centre of Civic Inclusion, who is helping to spearhead the event. "We're trying to bring people of all backgrounds together to celebrate Martin Luther King Day."
To that end, Myrie and her cohorts have organized a celebration on Sunday at Stewart Memorial Church that exalts King's message of non-violent change and working together towards a common goal.
Instead of celebrating through speeches and lectures, the group has chosen to focus on music — just not the music you might think.
Performances are scheduled to include Feihong Nan, who will play the guzheng (an ancient Chinese zither), and acclaimed dub poet Michael St. George.
"We're using art as a way to send a message of hope over talking or lecturing," Myrie said.
"It's entertainment with a message," agreed Black History Committee member and event coordinator Marlene Thomas.
The diversity of artistic expression is meant to appeal to the diversity of Hamilton itself, Thomas says.
"Dr. King tried to show the world that we are one," she said. "By bringing the whole community together, we're living his message."
Hamilton's Martin Luther King Day celebrations are set to take place at Stewart Memorial Church at 113 John St. N on Sunday Jan. 20, from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. The event is free.