The event will kick off with a prayer from Reverend Victoria Loveland-Coen, Unity’s senior minister. This prayer will be followed up by three presentations by Unity members.
First, Vibrance Heartfelt will discuss the historical context that informed Dr. King. Then, Foy will discuss “the talk” that Black parents have with their children regarding law enforcement and how to act if pulled over. Lastly, Sandra Richards will discuss Dr. King’s concept of the “beloved community.”
Heartfelt chose to discuss history because she said she feels it’s important to look back on the past to appreciate the life she lives.
“I personally feel my existence and any freedoms that I experience rises off the backs of those before me,” Heartfelt said. “Personally, it's important for me to share with others who may not know some of the historical content. To hear it and to see it are why Blacks step forward so strongly when we see injustices, because we're used to it.”
Foy’s parents saw King deliver his famous “I Have a Dream...” speech at the March on Washington. She said the content of that speech still affects Black life today.
“It has always stuck out with me from the day and coming home was my parents hearing that and that's what they wanted for their children — to be judged by their character,” Foy said. “We've been carrying that dream all of this time, but we're still dreaming about it. That dream hasn't been realized, and I feel we need to stop dreaming about it. When is the dream going to be realized? When is the dream going to be over?”
Heartfelt said she felt it is important to celebrate King’s legacy to help better understand the Black experience.
“We just want to share about Martin Luther King and all he stood for from our perspective as African Americans and continue to understand each other,” Heartfelt said. “Understanding is the key."
Watlington feels that Black Americans still face many of the injustices that Dr. King fought against, but that looking back on his legacy can help solve some of those issues.
“We still have those problems,” Watlington said. “It's not as predominant as it was, but it's still there. His way still works.”
As for what she hopes attendees will take away from the event, Heartfelt has a simple answer.
“See me,” Heartfelt said. “See us.”