Paradise Valley celebrates MLK Day for 19th consecutive year

The Town of Paradise Valley celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 18, 2016 at the Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive, at 11 a.m.

Among the activities will be the presenting of awards to winners of the Junior Youth Essay Competition and recognizing the 2016 Town of Paradise Valley MLK Diversity Awardee Shirley L. Mays, Dean of the Arizona Summit Law School.

Kana Chinasamy

Kana Chinasamy

The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday celebrates the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to America. It also commemorate the timeless values he taught us through his example — the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service that so radiantly defined Dr. King’s character and empowered his leadership.

On this holiday, we commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.
What started in 1999 as a small event organized by the Baha’i Community of Paradise Valley, has now evolved into a major event on an annual basis.

From the perspective of the Baha’i Faith, racism is one of the most harmful and persistent evils in society. Racial discrimination violates human dignity, cripples its victims, corrupts its perpetrators and severely damages human progress.

John Wintersteen

John Wintersteen

Yet it persists because it is deeply rooted in outdated attitudes and erroneous beliefs. Baha’is believe that racism will be eliminated only when the peoples of the world are convinced of the oneness and brotherhood of humankind and proceed to reconstruct their lives and their societies on that basis.

The Town of Paradise Valley observes MLK Day with year-round activities and projects involving children, youth and the community at large. Retired Paradise Valley Police Chief John Wintersteen heads and leads the PV MLK Committee.

In conjunction with the Town of Paradise Valley Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, service projects such as packaging food for Feed My Starving Children are held year-round, and a food drive held after the holiday season.
The Town’s MLK celebration also includes year-round dialog. Race Unity Day is observed and follow-up sessions and workshops are held year-round for discussion on how individuals, families and communities can contribute to healing the ill effects of racism.

In 2000, the MLK Diversity Award was initiated by the PV MLK Committee. This annual award honors an individual who embodies the spirit of Dr. King and is actively involved in community service in which integrity, leadership, creativity, and positive outcome are apparent. 16 individuals have been recognized and awarded so far.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration observed by the Town of Paradise Valley every year with the support and cooperation of the mayor, town council members and staff and the residents has become a very significant event that it embodies and symbolizes the values and need for peace, harmony, tolerance, understanding and recognizing human dignity.

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