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Kings County praises King: Officials, activists honor MLK at politically charged tribute

Brooklyn Paper
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Photo gallery

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Sweet sounds: Members of the Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir belt it out.
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Love trumps hate: Borough President Adams takes a jab at President Trump.
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Love, light, and hope: The crowd dances to the music.
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A day remembered: Christine Parker and Yusuf Sirius-El enjoy the tribute.
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Speak up: Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo addresses the crowd.
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In rememberance: Mayor DeBlasio speaks to the audience during the tribute for Martin Luther King, Jr.

They remembered his dream.

Brooklynites flooded a Fort Greene theater on Monday to honor the late Martin Luther King, Jr. and his eternal message of hope at an annual tribute that adopted a more critical tone this year as local leaders vowed to overcome the racist rhetoric spewed from the White House.

“Make no mistake: President Trump’s tweet antics are no different than a game of Three-Card Monte in the street. We cannot let his madness distract us from the policies he is putting in place to further divide America and hurt already struggling communities,” said Borough President Adams, who brandished three enlarged Queen playing cards on stage while speaking. “We gathered to reaffirm that the content of one’s character does in fact mean more than the color of one’s skin. Working together, we will reactivate Dr. King’s dream.”

Adams was one of several black activists, politicians, and musicians to address the audience at the emotional ceremony, including Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D–Fort Greene), First Lady Chirlane McCray, and keynote speaker, writer Jelani Cobb.

The 32nd-annual salute to King, celebrated on the late civil-rights icon’s birthday, also included performances by blues and soul singer Martha Redbone and the Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir, both of which brought the crowd inside Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gillman Opera House to its feet.

And Mayor DeBlasio joined the festivities, too, imploring attendees not to give up in the face of adversity, and praising residents of all five boroughs for showing President Trump how communities are stronger when they come together.

“We have an obligation here to build something together, and an obligation to remain hopeful no matter what is thrown at us,” Hizzoner said. “New York City has always been a beacon of hope and an example of what it looks like for people to live in one place and find a way to get along, to live and let live, to build that beautiful community that Dr. King dreamed of.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 9:32 am, January 17, 2018
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