Ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Upper Lafayette is celebrating the federal holiday with song and prayer at the Martin Luther King Jr. Multipurpose Center. A musical extravaganza and a pageant were held Saturday.
“I just love Martin Luther King weekend because it’s always been a chance for me to express who I am and be proud of who I am because the people in this organization have provided a safe space for me to express my talents,” says former pageant queen Aliko LeBlanc.
The events of the day focused on the children in the primarily African American community.
“We have the children performing today that was part of the Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream” speech. He wanted to see everybody equal, everybody performing, everybody doing what you do best. If everybody would do what they do best, then what a great world we would have,” says Mathilda G. Martin, who organized the song portion of the event.
Young people at the extravaganza said the center is a staple in Upper Lafayette where they can learn about their culture and how to make an impact.
“A lot of people could make differences if they just put their minds to it,” explained some young girls who say they frequent the community center.
Those who have grown up in the area say they continue to revisit the MLK Center all year long, and they want to encourage others to do the same.
“This community center has had such an impact on me, and I would love for it to happen to others. So, just come in and help out throughout the year. It doesn’t hurt to walk in, maybe play some basketball with the local kids, or come in and play ping pong or participate in the musical. So, it doesnt hurt,” says LeBlanc.