Vol. 9    No. 2
JANUARY 23, 2014

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Jonathan Gramling
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Contributing Writers
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Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                           A Memorable Weekend
I’m getting kind of tired, bone tired right about now. It all started, of course, with the King Coalition’s Free
Community Dinner on January 17th at UW-Madison’s new Gordon Commons, which hardly resembles the
UW cafeterias I ate in as a UW student in the 1970s. And over the course of 2-3 hours, they served up 720
plates of food, which means that, when people who went for seconds with a clean plate are taken into
account, approximately 600 people attended the kick-off to the King Holiday weekend.

The Free Community Dinner always seems like a family reunion. There are several people whom I see
once per year and that is at the dinner. The diners come from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds. It
is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Beloved Community in the flesh. And everyone is being so courteous and
nice to each other, you just wish life was always like this even though it may never be. But it is wonderful
to know that 46 years later, Dr. King’s memory can still bring us all together in fellowship.

It’s also nice to see the Madison Music Makers growing quite nicely. They provide a strings experience
and lessons to youth from many backgrounds. It looked to be 40-50 kids who were playing their
instruments. Madison Music Makers used to be based at Centro Hispano before they moved to Zion City’s
facilities and more spacious quarters.

On Saturday night, Women in Focus hosted their annual I Have a Dream Ball, which funds their
scholarships. They aim to give out 12 $2,000 scholarships this year. The Ball is a classy affair with most
folks dressed up in gowns and black ties. It was held at the Marriott Madison West Hotel this year because
Monona Terrace is undergoing some renovations. Deidre Green, a former scholarship recipient and
member
of the Simpson Street Free Press staff, gave a wonderful keynote speech. And her fellow staffers were
there in force to cheer her on. The late Al and Jan Studesville were remembered. Jan would have been
president of Women in Focus if she and Al weren’t killed in a motorcycle accident last summer. I’m sure
they were there in spirit. They never could pass up a chance to dress up and have fun. But they will
forever be missed.

Some of us got up early on Sunday morning for the Urban League of Greater Madison’s Youth Recognition
Breakfast at Edgewood High School. When we started the breakfast 30 year’s ago, I remember that King
Holiday was a part of the title. I’m not sure where that slipped off to. But the breakfast was an outstanding
success as it was sold out and folks were almost hanging from the rafters. 140 youth were honored in
person as Outstanding Young People, which has to be an all-time high. And in addition to the Mann
Scholars being presented, four youth were presented Betty Franklin-Hammonds Scholarships. Betty lead the
Urban League for eight years and established the breakfast and the Outstanding Young Person awards, so
it is naturally fitting that scholarships in her name be awarded at the event.

The next day, on the actual holiday, the state and city-county King Holiday celebrations featured two
wonderful speakers, Dr. Jack Daniels III, Madison College’s president, at the event in the Capitol Rotunda
at noon and Ambassador Andrew Young at the city-county observance in the Capitol Theater later that
night. In some ways, the appearances were complementary to each other. Daniels reminded us of how
important that education and skills building are to the fulfillment of Dr. King’s legacy and the civil rights
movement, “economic equity” as Dr. Daniels put it. And Ambassador Young was a lieutenant of Martin
Luther King and went on to become a Congressman, U.N. ambassador and mayor of Atlanta. More
than any other person, Young epitomized the conversion of the civil rights movement from a protest,
“outside-looking-in” movement to one that became a part of the system in order to push for change on
the inside. Both during his speech and afterwards at a reception, Young told vignettes that reflected how
change can happen when one knows the foundations of power. And he so eloquently told us that the job of
civil rights is hardly over.

Both of these events were very well attended. And the performances at each of these events were out of
this world. I just want to congratulate the King Coalition, Dr. Jonathan Overby and his state committee, the
Urban League and Women in Focus for making this a meaningful and so enjoyable King Holiday weekend.
You keep out doing yourselves. And thank God for that.
Pathways to Civil Rights
Ambassador Andrew Young at the
Overture Center