The Rockford High School (RHS) wind ensemble was honored to open an evening of festivities at the 25th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Inherit The Dream” commemoration program at Grand Rapids Community College’s (GRCC) Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse on January 17. The band performed during the prelude and the National Anthem.
The evening celebration was highlighted by keynote speaker Judy Richardson, filmmaker and social activist since the 1960s. A veteran of the original Civil Rights Movement and founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Richardson spoke on the social injustices still affecting our nation today and focused on the growing gap between the rich and poor in our country. She believes that by educating society on this disparity and using laws and the power of the voting population, we can work to close this gap.
Richardson began her film work as co-producer of the Academy Award-nominated PBS series “Eyes on the Prize.” Throughout her life she has worked for social justice organizations, including director of information for the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice in New York, working on police brutality issues. Her most recent documentary, “Scarred Justice,” examines the 1968 Orangeburg, S.C., student massacre—one of many overlooked events of the Civil Rights Movement.
The evening program also featured additional pieces performed by the RHS band, a community-wide adult and youth choir, with participants from the GRCC, Grand Valley State University (GVSU), Kuyper College and Cornerstone University choirs, and various churches throughout the community. This free community event was sponsored by GRCC, GVSU and Davenport University.