DeBlasio looks to the future at BAM’s annual MLK tribute

DeBlasio looks to the future at BAM’s annual MLK tribute
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Monday marked the 48th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death — but Mayor DeBlasio is already thinking about the 50th.

Hizzoner paid tribute to the civil rights great at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s annual commemoration on Jan. 18, where he urged attendees to honor the leader’s legacy by fighting for a more equal society over the next two years.

“We should honor him with a new and fairer country, and a new and fairer city,” he said. “When we gather here in 2018, let’s be ready to say that we did all we could, and show Dr. King that we’ve earned it.”

DeBlasio speculated that King would be shocked at the racial and economic disparity that still exists in the United States in the year 2016, citing a $15 minimum wage, paid parental leave, and universal pre-kindergarten as causes the famed activist would be fighting for if he were still alive today.

“Dr. King would remind us, if in 2016 we have to even say the self-evident words ‘black lives matter’ that we have not gone far enough as a nation,” the former Park Sloper said on behalf of the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

The Brooklyn Academy of Music has hosted its annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tribute since 1990, drawing huge crowds to its Fort Greene headquarters for the day of speeches, film screenings, art exhibitions, and performances.

The Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir and “The Voice” star Kimberly Nichole provided musical entertainment at this year’s event, before author and cultural critic Michael Eric Dyson — who has penned several books on King — delivered a keynote address.

Under watchful eyes: Distric Attorney Ken Thompson speaks at the ceremony.
by Stefano Giovannini