News

A Dream to Stand United

SGI-USA co-hosts the 35th Annual Celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Santa Monica, Calif., Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis. Photo by FABIAN LEWKOWICZ AND DEBRA WILLIAMS.


Lines from the iconic “I Have a Dream” speech reverberated in every corner of the World Peace Ikeda Auditorium on Jan. 20, when some 500 community members gathered for the 35th Annual Celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The event’s theme, “Now Is the Time to Make Real the Promises of Democracy,” was explored through a heartfelt invocation, welcome, step and song performances, and an inspiring keynote address.

Amanda Gorman, first United States National Youth Poet Laureate. Photo by FABIAN LEWKOWICZ AND DEBRA WILLIAMS.

Amanda Gorman, the first United States National Youth Poet Laureate, captured the audience with her powerful call to action to commit ourselves to making real the promise of democracy now. She stated that only by honoring and understanding our interconnected history can we understand the significance of this moment.

Performance by the Mar Vista Boys and Girls Club Dance Squad. Photo by FABIAN LEWKOWICZ AND DEBRA WILLIAMS.

Ms. Gorman called King’s language and approach “genius,” in that he reprimanded the U.S. government for a broken system yet still held fast to a dream for tomorrow. As if to impart her own dream, she concluded with words from her original piece “Believer’s Hymn for the Republic”:

It is from struggle that comes our nation’s strength . . .
Every day we write the future. Together we sign it, declare it . . .
We are right to stand.
But are revolutionary when we stand united. WT