Naomi Tutu speaks at event honoring King

January 16, 2002|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County leaders and the black community turned out last night to celebrate the birthday of the late civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., at a dinner featuring keynote speaker Naomi Tutu, daughter of South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The 14th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Dinner had to be moved from Annapolis to La Fountaine Bleu in Glen Burnie to accommodate the nearly 1,000 who attended, making it the largest in the event's history, organizers said.

Also scheduled to speak was South Africa's ambassador to the United States, Sheila Violet Makate Sisulu.

Naomi Tutu said before the dinner she wanted to issue a challenge to a new generation of leaders who she hopes will take up the legacy of their parents and grandparents to work to create a fair and equal world.

"When Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of the `beloved community,' it wasn't just a vision of the United States, but a global vision that no child should go hungry and that no one should be unable able to walk home for fear of being raped," she said.

In other parts of the Baltimore region yesterday, other events took place to remember King.

In Woodlawn, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and Baltimore County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger attended a breakfast sponsored by the YMCA of Central Maryland and the King's Landing Women's Service Club.

Later, the men attended a "Let Freedom Ring" musical tribute to King held at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The event, which included selections from composer Kirke Mechem's Songs of the Slave, was presented by the Maryland Commission on African-American History and Culture.

Among those recognized with awards at the Anne Arundel County dinner were County Executive Janet S. Owens, Maryland Court of Special Appeals Judge Clayton Greene Jr., and the county's Habitat for Humanity President John "Rusty" Porter.

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