"Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration brings message of peace, unity to hundreds"

"Through song, dance, speech and even a visit from a former United States president, the past came to life Monday as hundreds of residents celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day.The celebration held at Decatur High School projected the message of community unity and peace. The two-hour event featured several speakers including Federal Way Mayor Michael Park and Mike Mcintosh, pastor at Grace Church in Federal Way who was also the master of ceremonies. ... This is a community that's come together to celebrate what this day is all about, McIntosh said. We are together.Five energetic dance numbers kicked off the event in a celebration of the varied cultures and people living here. The event showcased Filipino, Greek, Mexican, Irish and African-American dances. Dancers in colorful, flashy costumes, quickly jumping and twisting in unison during their numbers drew excited applause from the audience.A highlight of the assembly included a presentation from David Shelton, the keynote speaker, who played President Abraham Lincoln as a statue that came to life for the audience. Shelton read from Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and about various facts and significant points in King's life from his elementary school days to the heart of his civil rights movement.New to the ceremony this year was a slide presentation of several photographs taken over the year. The images, some color, others black and white, showed the many faces and diversity of Federal Way, said Ron Walker, chair of the event and the city's Diversity Commission. While the auditorium remained dark with spotlights focused sharply on performers and speakers, Geri-Lynn Hartman of Des Moines said she liked how the event seemed to bring just about everyone into the fold.It wasn't just about blacks or whites or anyone for that matter, she said. This is about everyone, about being a part of a bigger community.The spark of community peace and unity was lit at the conclusion of the ceremony with a hand-blown glass oil lamp called The Community Flame of Federal Way.Standing 21 inches tall and 10 inches in diameter, Park placed a flame lit by five people representing five community themes: Federal Way, a good place to work, live, learn, play and worship. It symbolized community togetherness much like a unity candle represented in a wedding, Walker said. "

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