From a large glossy photo to his most famous words, the life and dreams of Martin Luther King Jr. were on display Monday in Gilbert.
The town’s third annual Martin Luther King Jr. youth breakfast, "Celebrating Our Unity — The Journey Continues," attracted students and adults to the Gilbert Boys and Girls Club a week before the national holiday to honor the slain civil rights leader.
The event was planned by the Gilbert Human Relations Commission.
"I believe Dr. King would be pleasantly surprised by the fact Gilbert, Arizona, is blossoming into a garden of people and ideas," said Gilbert Human Relations Commission member William Jefferson during his speech, "Words on Diversity."
Jefferson, who asked that King’s photo be passed through the audience, Phoenix Mercury coach and former Suns player John Shumate and diversity motivator Calvin Terrell spoke to the crowd of about 350 people.
Vocalist and trumpet player Aaron Thompson had the audience singing and clapping to familiar spirituals, while high school students performed skits and dance numbers.
"I try to walk in (Martin Luther King’s) footsteps and do his things," said Chandler-Gilbert Community College student Jamie Castillo, leader of the Boys and Girls Club dance group Je Ja Vue that performed Monday.
Shumate quoted from King’s "I Have a Dream" speech. The former National Basketball Association player and assistant coach also talked of racial improvements in the sports world.
"Not too long ago, minorities could not participate in sports, much less hold administrative positions," said Shumate, who said minorities today excel in their sports and hold general manager, coach and scout positions.
Terrell said: "Instead of being tolerant, I challenge us to be united."
Recently appointed Human Relations Commissioner Charles Peevy was attending his first King celebration in Gilbert.
"I was impressed by the attendance, enthusiasm, the speakers were great . . ." he said. "I look forward to additional activities this week and weekend and the growth of this activity in Gilbert."
Gilbert’s Youth and Teen Unity Walk will start at 4 p.m. Friday at the Boys and Girls Club. The downtown walk, also open to adults, will end two hours later at the club.