Reston Commemorates MLK with Weekend of Programs
Reston resident Denver Lovett was part of the first March on Washington on Aug. 8, 1963, while he was a student at Howard University. He also attended the 20th, 30th, and 50th anniversaries of the event in Washington D.C.
But this past Sunday, Jan. 19, Lovett had a chance to spend the day marching with his Reston neighbors for a half-mile beginning at Lake Anne Village Center to commemorate the historic day.
“If you get a lot of individuals taking action and trying to change things rather than sitting around complaining about how bad things are, it can create a powerful movement for good,” said Lovett.
Reston community members, led by the Rev. David North, marched together and sang “We Shall Not Be Moved” and “We Shall Overcome” as they made their way to the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation up the road. There the Voices of Inspiration Gospel Choir, a student gospel group from Southern Methodist University, sang songs of worship in a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy.
Throughout the weekend, the Reston community paid service to King through community service, speaking events and arts performances. The festivities began Saturday with a community service day that drew about 100 volunteers at Southgate Community Center. For four hours, participants collected toys in partnership with The Closet, hosted an arts and crafts station for children to create murals commemorating King, and cleaned up the community center’s backyard.
At the Reston Community Center, the Reston Community Orchestra, led by Maestro Dingwall Fleary, performed songs both created by African American composers and dedicated to the civil rights movement.
“The great thing about this celebration over the years has been how it becomes an event by and for the community,” said Leila Gordon, executive director of the Reston Community Center.
A headliner for the weekend was Grammy award-winning a capella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock. The group played a sold-out concert at the community center at Hunters Woods and, as a collective, was the chosen speaker for the Monday keynote address and community lunch.
Through its weekend packed with programs, Reston showed its commitment to celebrating King’s life and legacy by bringing a community of individuals together in acts of solidarity.
As North told the Sunday congregation of marchers: “One drop is small, but if you put all the drops together, you can create a mighty ocean.”