By Will Fairless and Morgan Bryce
On Monday at Opelika High School, The Dream Day Foundation presented their 21st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration with the theme “Nonviolence is Love.”
It included performances by the Hallelujah Dream Choir interspersed with quotes and lessons from King that emphasized the event’s theme.
Steven Harvey, Angel Jones and Ciara Thomas of Opelika and Beauregard high schools received foundation scholarships while George Echols was posthumously recognized as the Dream Achiever Award recipient.
An Auburn native, George attended Auburn High School and Troy University where he received his bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing. A longtime Alabama Power employee, he dedicated much of his spare time volunteering in service of the community.
Rev. Clifford Jones of Greater Peace Baptist Church invited George’s wife Patricia to come and accept the award.
“(George) has made a tremendous impact in the Lee County community. He served in many areas of responsibility, making an impact in the lives of young people as well as adults,” Jones said. “We honor him today because he is the epitome of the things that Dr. Martin Luther King stood for and the things that he wanted everyone to be.”
Before concluding the ceremony, candles were lit in honor of individuals whose lives were lost as the result of violence, including Aniah Blanchard, Trayvon Martin and Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney. The majority of the 400 to 500 people in attendance joined in by turning on their cell phone flashlights and waving them in the air.
For more information about the foundation and its other initiatives, visit www.thedreamdayfoundation.org.