SCRANTON, Pa. -- It's a tradition on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Scranton's MLK Commission invites members of the community to dinner.
It's a chance to get different faiths, races, and walks of life together.
"I think it's very important to celebrate the national holiday of Martin Luther King Jr.," said Cathy Ann Hardaway, the president of the MLK Commission. "Unfortunately, many of us, regardless of a national holiday, sometimes we don't always take the time to commemorate it or remember the focus of it. So, this is our chance, not only to reflect on Martin Luther King but his principles. That's the key."
The MLK Commission hands out awards during the event to both adults and young people who are agents of change in the community.
"It's important that our young people from the real youngest age get exposed to a message of humanity," explained Ida Castro of the MLK Commission. "That's our theme for this year, all humanity."
The event's keynote speaker was Brandon Flood, a longtime state representative who now serves as secretary of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons.
"We're here to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King but we should all be patterning our lives after him as well," said Flood. "The dream didn't stop with him so it's incumbent upon all of us to carry his dream forward."
"Would Martin Luther King, Jr. be pleased with what we're doing today? With our agenda and our nation today? Those are the kind of things we want to address," Hardaway said.
The dinner is one of several events the MLK Commission will put on over the long weekend.
Other Scranton Events Happening Monday:
- All Day -- UNC NEPA Food Drive. Non-perishable food items can be dropped off at UNC Community Services, 410 Olive Street, Scranton. Benefits Angels Attic Food Bank. Contact: Nathan Masco 570-961-1952 ext. 103
- 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. -- Penn State Scranton's 5th annual MLK Celebration Luncheon Award presentation, followed by a day of service. The View Cafe - Study Learning Center at Penn State Scranton. Free to the public. RSVP to the website here or call 570-963-2700.
- Noon - 3 p.m. -- Free Youth Education Program, St. Mary's Center, Scranton. RSVP required. Contact Sr. Ann Walsh 570-348-4428
- 2 p.m - 4 p.m. -- Youth Dialogue on Humanity in partnership with Penn State Scranton. Free and open to middle and high school students. RSVP required. Call 570-903-9450 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP or for more details.
- 4:45 p.m. -- March from UNC Progressive Center at 414 Olive Street, Scranton, to the Lackawanna County Courthouse, Scranton. Ceremony and remarks to follow in the courthouse. Free and open to the public.
- 7 p.m. -- Interfaith Closing Prayer Service, Shiloh Baptist Church, 1926 Wayne Avenue, Scranton. Features the Martin Luther King Community Choir. Volunteer singers contact Charlotte Ledbetter at 570-342-6348. Sponsored by the Scranton Area Ministerium.