forming artist, took center stage after the color guard left the room. He belted out some gospel numbers as he performed on piano. And then Sista Strings followed up
his performance with a duet on electric violin and bass that incorporated several classics like Bridge Over Troubled Water and Wade in the Water. Their performance
was electric and electrifying bringing the audience to their feet at the end to give them a rousing standing ovation.
The first of two Martin Luther King Heritage Awards was given to Corinda Rainey-Moore by Governor Evers. Rainey-Moore was cited for her enormous body of
community work, involved in many organizations through her work as outreach & engagement manager for Kids Forward. She is currently the president of the city of
Madison Equal Opportunities Commission, Safe Communities and the Urban League of Greater Madison Guild. She is also a long-time advocate for services to those
experiencing mental illness.
A contingent of the Fall Gospel Fest Community Choir then gave a beautiful number before Governor Evers gave the second King Heritage Award to Rev. Willie
Brisco. For more than 36 years, Brisco had dedicated his life to fighting racism in Milwaukee. For example, what started with prayer vigils under his leadership
ended with a HUD investigation in 2013 that found the city Housing Authority had failed to meet federal regulations for hiring low-income workers. Brisco is working
with Governor Evers and others to reform the correctional system.
Next Dr. Ollie Watts Davis, a professor of music and opera singer at the University of Illinois-Champaign. She opened her speech with an awesome operatic
performance that she used to springboard into operatic great Marian Anderson’s — and others — contributions to the civil rights movement.
Governor Tony Evers then recited and handed to Dr. Overby the official state proclamation for the King Holiday and Dr. Overby, in turn, gave it to former committee
member Oscar Mireles to pass around to the audience.
The event ended with a prayer led by Rabbi Andrea Steinberger.
It is quite impressive that Dr. Overby and the Africasong Committee can put on such an intense and uplifting event in only 90 minutes each year. But then, as was the
case was with many civil rights milestones, what always seems to be impossible and unreachable becomes not only possible, but also real and within reach.
The King Tribute & Ceremony has carried us thus far over the past 40 years and we look forward to another 40 as we continue the spirit of the movement to make
America and beyond a better place for all.