Kauaians remember and celebrate Martin Luther King

LIHU’E — A slate of 18 acts coordinated by leaders of the Kauai Inter-faith Roundtable provided ample opportunities for Kukui Grove Center shoppers to “Remember! Celebrate! Act!”

Joining hundreds of similar celebrations across the nation, Kauaians and visitors took time out to reflect on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the 20th annual celebration honoring his birth on Jan. 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Ga.

Juanita Powell, in taking the stage with the Rev. James Koyama of the Kauai Interfaith Roundtable, said nationally, people celebrate King’s birth on the third Monday of January, “as part of moving forward for freedom and peace.”

Ron Wiley, a radio personality for KQNG Radio, said he spent part of his morning program playing excerpts from children in their interpretations of the MLK celebration nationwide.

Wiley served as the emcee for the two-hour program that encompassed presentations by religious leaders of all faiths, as well as students from Kapa’a Elementary School, who rendered their own versions of songs and words at the MLK celebration they took from their Peace Assembly held on campus last week.

As shoppers enjoyed their lunches, the stage was filled with messages demonstrating the singularity of cause between their respective work and efforts with those of King.

Carolyn Hoeckmann-Percival, a student at both Waimea High School and Kaua’i Community College, rendered a stirring saxophone solo to open the day that was filled with presentations from many of Kaua’i’s youth.

Issac Worth, known more recently for his role in community theater, delivered King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, followed by the youth of the Baha’i Faith, who woke up those in the food court with their footstomping, interpretive dance.

The original presentations by the fourth- and fifth-grade students at Kapa’a Elementary School were followed by Desiree Vea’s “Slam Poetry,” and the program was brought to a close by the vocal rendering of “Let There Be Peace On Earth” by 8-year-old Kiana Okino of King Kaumuali’i Elementary School.

Other organizations involved in the programming included kumu Nathan Kalama, who provided the opening chant; visiting Catholic monk Brother Bernard Seif; representatives of the Hindu temple, the Jewish Community of Kauai, Soka Gakkai USA, the Fellowship of Inner Light, Kahana Valley, the Lihue Hongwanji Mission, and the Kapaa Hongwanji Mission.

Kaua’i’s MLK celebration was spearheaded through the efforts of members of the Kauai Interfaith Roundtable and merchants and managers of Kukui Grove Center.

Others involved in the celebration included students from Island School, and representatives of The People’s Market, Kauai Nursery & Landscaping, Kauaian Days, Growing Greens Nursery, Ho’ike Kaua’i Community Television, the KONG Radio Group, and the contestants of the Kaua’i Peace Project’s art and writing contest.

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