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Frankford’s Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.! The Promise of Hope!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday morning over 200 people from the Frankford area gathered to remember and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to continue working towards his dream of all of us joining our hands as “brothers and sisters”. Honoring Dr. King reminds us of our own call to serve, to show “true compassion … and a revolution of values” as we need more than ever, compassion, understanding and justice for each American. This was the 25th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast Celebration and this event had taken place at St. Joachim RC Church in previous years. This year, Dr. Ayesha Imani, CEO,Principal, and Founder of Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School, invited the community to use the school’s facility at 4256 Paul St. for the celebration. Besides George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Dr. King is the only one to be honored by having a federal holiday named after him.  At 8:30 AM, the school’s cafeteria was filled with people from the many different

Dr. Ayesha Imani, Sankofa Freedom Academy

organizations, churches and neighborhood who came for a free, cooked breakfast (by Ken’s Catering) and to participate in a program honoring Dr. King’s life that showcased the many talents of our area youth. There was a feeling of anticipation and excitement as we waited for the program to begin. Sponsored by the Frankford Coalition of Neighbors (FCN) with support from area organizations, this celebration, according to Jennifer Powell-Folks Executive Director of FCN, brings “Frankfordians together to sit with each other and talk with each other”. Jennifer reminded us that “grassroots people can make a difference” and that it is important that elected officials hear our views on what matters most to us. The mission of FCN is “… to improve relations among the diverse religious, economic, racial and ethnic groups in Frankford, while promoting volunteerism and community coalition”. At the end of this article we will provide contact information for two of community groups if you would like to get more involved. Also, be sure to check out the links of the various performances.

The program began with a song entitled “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. The Frankford Friends School Choir sang and played bells to accompany this song. We have links to all the performances at the end of this article. This song is commonly known as “The Negro National Anthem”. We were welcomed by Janet Bernstein, a member of FCN and the Frankford Garden Club, who asked us to reflect what each of us can do to continue Dr. King’s work. The beautiful table centerpieces were provided by the Frankford Garden Club with assistance by the Frankford High School ROTC (FHS ROTC) members. FHS

Jennifer Powell-Folks, Frankford Coalition of Neighbors

ROTC “presented arms” and we listened to the National Anthem. They also treated us to a drill team performance. Reverend Laurie Ann Rookard of the United Methodist Church gave the invocation and blessing. Breakfast was then served – buffet style. Following breakfast, there was an acknowledgement of the local dignitaries in attendance. Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez and state Representative Tony Payton, Jr. were among the notables. Both were thanked for their active support and advocacy for our community.

The poetry performances by Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School students were very, very moving to all. These poets are wise beyond their years and offered us a chance to see the dreams of a life they envisioned for all. Listening to these young people, Dr. King would know his message has not been forgotten. Kimberly Washington, the Northeast EPIC coordinator, explained that her organization needed more involvement from area residents. Many of the civic groups in Frankford participate in this organization but the voices of those of us who live here, the residents, needs to be more vocal and active. The next meeting of the EPIC Stakeholders is Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 5:30 PM at Aria Health – Frankford. Please make sure your presence and voice are there!

A liturgical dance was performed by the Treasures from Heaven of the Campbell AME Church. This Church on Kinsey Street is over 200 years old and the second oldest church in the Philadelphia conference. There was a free will offering to help defray costs of the breakfast. Northeast Boys and Girls Club marched and stepped lively to drums which accompanied the drill team’s performance.

Dr. Imani explained the development of freedom schools (Wikipedia reference which references the Philadelphia Freedom Schools based on the Children’s Defense Fund model). More information is also found here on the Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School web site. Reverend Rookard closed the program with a benediction.

How Can You Get Involved? Bring a Friend! Explore and Use Your Talents for Frankford!

Frankford Coalition of Neighbors
Jennifer Powell-Folks, Executive Director
c/o Campbell AME Church
1661 Kinsey Street
Philadelphia, PA 19124

CORA Services Northeast EPIC Stakeholders
Kimberly Washington, Esq.
Next meeting: Thursday, 1/27/11 at 5:30 PM at Aria Health, Frankford

Contributing Organizations besides those already mentioned: Aria Health, Frankford Campus; Fruit of the Vine United Methodist Church; Mater Dolorosa RC Church; Friends of Wissonoming Park

You are able to share in and relive this celebration by clicking on the following links:
MLK Day at Sankofa
Frankford Friends School Choir
Frankford High School ROTC Drill Team
Sankofa Essay and Poetry Readings
Campbell AME Church Liturgical Dance Performance
Northeast Boys and Girls Club Drill Team
Sankofa Freedom Academy “Something Inside So Strong”