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MLK  – A Celebration of Freedom, Troy’s tribute to the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, Jan. 19, 2015

On Monday January 19, 2015, people who live and work in Troy will gather for the city’s 16th annual celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. MLK – A Celebration of Freedom, is organized by the City of Troy and the Troy School District to give people of all ages an opportunity to honor the leadership and continue the legacy of Dr. King. Padma Kuppa, Board Member, and Steve Spreitzer, President and CEO, from Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion will lead this year’s symbolic Unity Walk. Troy City Manager Brian Kischnick and Superintendent of Troy Schools Dr. Rich Machesky will be the event emcees at this free gathering.

The annual celebration was initiated by the City of Troy and the Troy School District in 1999. The event incorporates music, this year featuring the Athens High School Concert Choir, with a presentation by a featured speaker. This year’s keynote speaker is Jyarland Daniels, MBA, JD, Marketing Communications Director of Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation, committed to advancing racial justice through research, media and practice. Recent keynote speakers have included the following: Richard Gleason, Freedom Rider; Fox2 Reporter and Anchor Roop Raj; Fox2 Reporter Huel Perkins; educational consultant Dr. Ray C. Johnson; Kimberly Simmons, documentarian of the National Underground Network to Freedom and descendant of the first Underground Railroad escapee through the state of Wisconsin.

The event, which ends with a continental breakfast, will also recognize the winners of annual student art, essay, and video contests, designed to challenge students to interpret the impact of Dr. King’s ideals in their lives.  The theme for the essay and video contests is “What am I doing to make a positive change in my community?”

This year’s event is sponsored by a wide range of community businesses and organizations, including the following: Troy Community Coalition; Troy Foundation for Educational Excellence; Alliance Mobile Health; Beaumont Health System; DTE Energy Foundation; Walsh College; Sodexo Food Service; Troy Interfaith Group; Big Beaver United Methodist Church; Lutheran Church of the Master;  and Troy Lanes.

To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, www.troyhistoricvillage/facebook. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at

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