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South Floridians Celebrate MLK Day Online, Together

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BERNHARD MOOSBRUGGER
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Many celebrations were virtual — YouTube was a popular platform for cities to post videos honoring the legacy of the late civil rights activist, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The pandemic made it harder to gather in person to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday. But following a year of Black Lives Matter demonstrations and renewed demands for social justice, communities in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties found ways to unite online.

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Kids couldn’t assemble at the Boynton Beach City Library this year to hear to Gemima Cadet read to them from the children’s book Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream and You. Instead, they watched on YouTube.

"You can be a King. Set your sights on the mountain top, climb a little higher every day," Cadet read. The end of the book placed the next chapter in her young audience's hands. "So how will you Be A King?" she asked.

The city of Plantation released its own YouTube video featuring music, poetry, and speakers honoring Dr. King. Plantation's city council president, Denise Horland, shared how Dr. King continues to inspire her — especially lately:

"This has been a difficult year for us all. But even after the darkest of nights, the dawn emerges. And when we have hope, we realize that the light will always drive out the darkness," she said.

Horland pointed to Georgia's election of U.S. Senator-Elect Rev. Raphael Warnock earlier this month as especially significant today.

"I'm sure to many, the election of Warnock seemed an impossible dream, but it was a dream cemented in a foundation of hope," she said.

The Plantation Chamber Orchestra played a Hymn to Freedom by Oscar Peterson.

When every heart Joins every heart And together yearns for liberty That's when we'll be free...
Oscar Peterson

In Miami, a group of boys from the 5000 Roles Models of Excellence Project, which pairs at-risk kids with mentors, heard Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris give the keynote address via livestream for the organization's 28th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Virtual Scholarship Breakfast.

On Wednesday, Harris will become the first woman, the first Black person, and the first Indian American inaugurated to the office of U.S. Vice President.

She told the young men, “Lead with conviction, see yourself and know yourself to be whatever you want to be.”