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Green Bay, Appleton communities celebrate MLK Jr. through words and actions

Posted at 3:28 AM, Jan 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-16 04:28:13-05
  • Several Northeast Wisconsin neighborhoods celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, 95 years after King's birth and nearly 56 years after his death
  • Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Sara Rodriguez and Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich were among a group who joined the Green Bay Conservation Corps to shovel snow off of sidewalks and kick off the Day of Service
  • Charles Caston and Rashad Cobb spoke at the following event
  • Hundreds gathered Monday evening at the 33rd Fox Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
  • Lawrence University provides resources about Dr. King's life and work at this link
  • Video shows excerpts from the speeches of each speaker

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Martin Luther King Jr. was born 95 years ago, and the civil rights activist's dream continues to be remembered. Hundreds gathered in Appleton at the Fox Cities MLK Celebration to honor Dr. King's legacy.

"Dr. King talked about the community being a microcosm of the world, and that's what we had here tonight," Kenny Yarbrough said. "We had a microcosm of Appleton here on our campus tonight, showing great solidarity, love and community."

Doctor Kenny Yarbrough, Lawrence University Vice President for Inclusion, welcomed the crowd to Lawrence to celebrate Dr. King — a tradition now in its 33rd year.

"If we can't help to bring the community together, let's not be the dividing factor to keep them apart," Yarbrough said.

Business owner and community leader Cainan Davenport was the keynote speaker. Davenport says there is work to be done.

"Let us fight with unity," Davenport said. "Let us fight with integrity. Let us fight with all the things that make us great. I truly believe if we fight using these things, we can see our very own mountaintop."

Earlier Monday afternoon, Charles Caston of We All Rise African American Resource Center of Green Bay spoke about standing up for fairness. Davenport and Caston both say Northeast Wisconsin has come a long way in equity since they each arrived.

"As I look around, and I see many races, and many different people," Caston said. "And they're here to talk about a Black man — someone that looks like me."

Before that speech, Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Sara Rodriguez and Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich were among the volunteers joining the Green Bay Conservation Corps to shovel sidewalks in the Tank neighborhood.

Alderman Brian Johnson says they came to make communities more equitable.

"It's about being a community, and that's what MLK has taught us, and that's what we're here to do," Johnson said.