Revisiting King's 'I Have A Dream' Speech





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Published on Jan 19, 2012

Written, filmed and edited by: Ameerah R. Gillespie

In an old tall building, rightfully placed on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in Detroit, a room of about 100 volunteers of all ages, cultures and races connected King's dream with them all. "I'm in love with the color purple," one youth member of Teen H.Y.P.E. said. "Connect," shouted another.

The "connect" game was played until every person in the room was left standing. It proved that no matter what age or race, everyone could connect in unity with each other, and for a greater purpose.

In spirit of service, that purpose was fulfilled. A team made up of youth groups from ACCESS A.C.T.S, Teen H.Y.P.E and a number of other adult volunteers sorted through hundreds of donated coats, gloves, scarves and hats to give to those need in the community. The homeless line grew longer, while teams caught up to speed. And the homeless weren't just given any coat. Preferences were requested and accompanied especially by one of the coordinators, Rachid Elabed. "Who wants an extra large? he said. "UAW jacket...and its leather." That was then followed by laughter from the accepting gentleman "And it smells new," he said, walking along with a new warm leather coat.

The youth groups in partnership with Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) and the Salvation Army were well organized. They separated into teams to pass out the free winter items and hot food at the NSO shelter and a vacant lot, just a few blocks away from each other. Entertainment through song and dance was also provided inside NSO at an informal talent show put on by Teen H.Y.P.E.

"The best part was bringing teams from different cultures together. It was great to see them serve outside of a community of their own," said Nadia Tonova, director of the National Network for Arab American Communities.

Shirelle Cumberlander picked up a few coats for her and her younger daughter. "It's something to help us out right now with the economy, Cumberlander of Detroit said."Right now we are not able to afford a lot of things for ourselves and children, so this is a good thing. It's something positive for the city of Detroit with what is going on with us right now."
The service event began around 10 a.m. lasting until three in the afternoon ending with the youth eating pizza and playing games together. "One lady came up to us and said she loved us because she really needed a hat and some scarves," said 17-year-old Loretta Perkins. "A lot of people are benefiting from this."

The project served well over 200 homeless individuals in the Detroit area. "Today the youth got a chance to see what people go through on a daily basis," Elabed said. "It's always important to recognize that and give back. This is something Dr. King would have wanted."


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