Friday, January 18, 2002

Events honor civil rights leader

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s message of progress through nonviolence is resonating in the Tristate with renewed urgency since last April's riots.

        “It is more important this year,” said Letacia Spencer, a 23-year-old downtown Cincinnati resident who is African-American.

        “What happened over the summer is something he fought against, the violence. ... Martin Luther King died because he wanted to end police brutality and racial inequality.”

        Events marking the birth of the slain civil-rights leader, who would have been 78, span the Tristate beginning today.

        In Loveland, Sunday's fourth annual King Day celebration concludes with a Neighbor-to-Neighbor discussion on improving racial communication.

        “To have it on the same night, it's brilliant,” said event organizer Dave Miller of Loveland. “There is added interest because I think people just want to sit down and talk.”

        Rabbi Arthur Flicker, formerly of Ohav Shalom synagogue in Sycamore Township, will be one of two recipients of the King Spirit Award, given annually by the Cincinnati Baptist Ministers at the King March and Service in Avondale.

        “After Sept. 11, we've come together as Americans to say we have a special way of life,” Rabbi Flicker said Wednesday from Columbus, where he now leads Tifereth Israel synagogue.

        “One reason is heroes like Martin Luther King, who've helped us understand and see that we have more to do. The day reinforces that.”

        Some events are:


        King March, 11 a.m., UC Medical Science Building, 231 Albert Sabin Way. Marchers walk to the King Memorial at Reading Road and Martin Luther King Drive. They return by vans to UC's Kresge Auditorium for a noon program, where the King Spirit Award will be given to Rabbi Flicker and to the Rev. Aaron Greenlea, pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in Silverton..


        Discussion breakfast “Convene for the Dream,” 9:30 a.m., Our Savior Church, East 10th Street, Covington.

        Middletown's Unity Conference, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Miami University's Johnson Hall, 4200 E. University Blvd. Featured are two men united by World War II: John Leahr, a Tuskegee fighter pilot and Herb Heilbrun, a bomber.

        Scholarship awards banquet, 6 p.m., Music Hall, 1213 Elm St. Hosts are Sentinel Police Association and the Cincinnati African American Firefighters' Association. Federal Judge Nathaniel Jones speaks. Tickets: $40. Attire: Black tie or African.


        Loveland Community Celebration, 4:30-8:30 p.m., Loveland Intermediate School, 757 S. Lebanon Road. A Taste of Africa, entertainment and a facilitated Neighbor-to-Neighbor discussion follow. Presented by the Loveland Shalom Initiative.

        Interfaith service, 5 p.m., Christ Church Cathedral, 318 E. 4th St., Cincinnati. The Rev. Dr. Taylor T. Thompson, senior pastor at Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Forest Park, will preach. Wilberforce University Choir will sing.

        Interfaith dialogue and celebration, 5 p.m., Bethel A.M.E. Church, 14 S. Beech St., Oxford. At 6 p.m. prayers and readings by Christian, Jewish and Islamic leaders. Music by the MLK Community Choir.

        Evening prayer, 7 p.m., Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, 12th Street and Madison Avenue, Covington.

        Community service, 7 p.m., Gulden Center at Twin Towers Retirement Community, 5343 Hamilton Ave., hosted by College Hill Ministerium. Cincinnati Vice Mayor Alicia Reece speaks.

        Cincinnati's Memorial March from Fountain Square, 11:15 a.m., to Music Hall. Speakers: Ed Rigaud, president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Steve Reece, business owner, and Vice Mayor Alicia Reece. Music by the Martin Luther King Jr. Chorale.


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