MLK 2017 Highlights January 16th

Hear the full audio version of the 2017 MLK Event
Segment A

Segment B

Watch the full version of Wisconsin’s Tribute and Ceremony honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

This page is dedicated to reflections, images, video and comments regarding the State of Wisconsin’s 37th Annual “Tribute & Ceremony” honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Some photos are provided by Nile Ostenso



Debbie Biddle, Chair 2o17 MLK Planning Group – is a leadership development coach and diversity and inclusion workshop facilitator, writer and speaker.  As founder of High Performance Development Solutions, Deborah is known for her calm, levelheaded approach in developing individuals and teams to reach their desired goals.  She serves as the Madison community as Arts & Letters chair of the Madison Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., grants committee member of A Fund For Women and chair of Wisconsin’s 37th Annual MLK Tribute & Ceremony. She has served as a member of the MLK Planning Group since 2015.


“The Preacher Said”
© 2016 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.
Permission to repint this work, granted by the author.

Let us pray,
The preacher said,
Let us pray in the name of hope,
In the name of justice,
In the name of truth.

Let us commit to each other,
The preacher said,
Commit in the name of equality,
In the name of righteousness,
And in the name of our children.

Let us take to the streets,
The preacher said,
Let us take to the streets
To make our space,
To claim a place,
For no one race
Can live in grace,
Until we face,
Oppression and hate.

Let us walk,
The preacher said,
Let us walk from Selma to Montgomery,
From oppression to the Promised Land,
From fear to courage,
From silence to action,
From today to the future,
To a place where all people
Will be judged by the content
Of their character,
The humanity of their words,
And the compassion of their deeds.

Stick with love,
The preacher said,
Stick with love
Because love is the only answer.

Stick with love.
Stick with love.

Let us pray,
The preacher said,
Let us pray in the name of hope,
In the name of justice,
In the name of truth.


From the printed program…reprinted by permission from Vincent Kavaloski, all rights reserved.  Copying or publishing of this work is prohibited…

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– By A. David Dahmer is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Madison365

Wisconsin’s 37th annual MLK Tribute and Ceremony was held in the Capitol Rotunda of the State Capitol Building on Jan. 16 and featured CEO, philanthropist, motivational speaker and author Valerie Daniels-Carter as the guest speaker.

The event was produced, directed and hosted by Wisconsin Public Radio’s Dr. Jonathan L. Overby, who opened the ceremony by telling the crowd that the theme for this year’s event was “The Journey Ahead.”

“It is a theme grounded in celebration, reflection, and a tribute to Dr. King who was taken from us 50 years ago,” Overby said. “In some African traditions, when the elder of the tribe dies, it is said that a great tree has fallen. Dr. King was a great tree. His life was rooted in a cause that has yet to be fully conquered. That cause, grounded in the American dream, was dedicated to the pursuit of equality for all Americans and the reduction of human hatred.”

Overby added that for some in our great nation, Dr. King’s dream remained deferred for a later time.

“Sadly, in some circles, we’ve let our lack of understanding of others and their cultural traditions to see others in a different light,” Overby said. “It influences negatively how we see and embrace them … causing some to fear who they do not know, who they do not understand … those who are different. Such fear has increasingly turned to hate. And that hate has far too often resulted in despicable acts that insult and cause injury to humanity here in the U.S. and everywhere around the globe.

“So, today, as we celebrate Dr. King’s life and legacy, let us use this occasion to plant new trees along the pathway of our journey ahead,” he added. “As we do, let us look for ways to serve the poor, the marginalized and the disenfranchised.”

The Wisconsin MLK Tribute and Ceremony is the oldest annual event of its kind in the United States. Over the years, Wisconsin’s King celebration has featured many prominent leaders as guest speakers including actors Ruby Dee, Cecily Tyson, Clifton Davis and Paul Winfield, Habitat for Humanity founder Millard Fuller, Ambassador Attallah Shabazz-the eldest daughter of Malcolm X, Mamie Till-Mobley-mother of Emmitt Till, Civil Rights activist Rev. C.T. Vivian-former presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm, CNN’s Roland Martin and commentator, Van Jones.

This year’s MLK Tribute and Ceremony featured music by the Kenosha Tremper High School Wind Ensemble, and gospel music by Kingdom Records recording artists, The Brown Sisters of Chicago. At the ceremony, the 2017 MLK Heritage Awards were presented to Milwaukee’s Journey House, a community center on Milwaukee’s near south side, and Ronald Morris, an admissions advisor overseeing multicultural recruitment at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Ronald Morris is an Admissions Advisor for Multicultural Recruitment at UW-Green Bay.  Mr. Morris inspires students of color to pursue their dreams through a college education.  He knows how to capture the attention of the middle school students to help them think about their future educational and career goals. Ron organizes a day at Opportunity Knocks at UW Green Bay for high school students of color so they feel welcome on campus and can experience life at UWGB. Once on there, students of color know that they can count on Mr. Morris to look out for them as they navigate college life.

Journey House is a nonprofit organization which helps move residents of Milwaukee’s Clarke Square Neighborhood out of poverty by providing adult education, workforce readiness, youth development, and family engagement programs.  For more than 45 years, Journey House programs develop top talent through education/character development and life skills, reduces unemployment and crime, strengthens families, and revitalizes neighborhoods. Under the leadership of Dr. Michele Bria, CEO, Journey House works with more than 7,000 people annually.



1989 Ed Holmes

1990Darlene Hancock

1991 Joann Griffin

1992 Melva McShane

1993 Frank Brown

1994 Pia Kenny-James

1995 Dora Silva

1996 Hermetta Williams

1997 Milele Chikasa Anana

1998 Mona Winston, Peter Munoz, Leotha Stanley

1999 Darlyne J. Barlow, Betty Franklin Hammonds, Milwaukee’s CDLCU William Ney

2000 Milwaukee’s MPCM Mark Fraire, Mattie Belle Woods

2001 Bessie Gray, Carlos Reyes, Habitat For Humanity, Int’l

2002 Romilia Schuelter, Paul Barrows, Midge Miller, United Migrant Opportunity Services

2003 Marlene Cummings

2004 Valerie Daniels-Carter, Steve Braunginn

2005 Milt McPike, Sr.

2007 American Jewish Committee – Milwaukee Chapter

2008 Ferne Yangyeite Caulker, Gloria J. Ladson-Billings, Clarence Garrett

2009 Will Allen Madison, Area Urban Ministry

2010 Sharyl Kato, James Gramling, Jonathan Gramling

2011 Ricardo Gonzalez, Mary Louise Mussoline, Paul Higginbotham

2012 ESTHER-Faith Communities United for Justice, Michael Reyes, Debra H. Amesqua

2013 Dr. Howard J. Fuller, Father James Groppi-Posthumously

2014 Anita Herrera, Ronald C. Dunlap, Dr. Luiz “Tony” Baez,
Dr. Eugene Farley-Posthumously

2015 Vel R. Phillips, Dinorah Márquez

2016 Richard Davis, YMCA Camp Everytown

2017 Journey House, Ronald Morris


Guest speaker Daniels-Carter, whom Essence Magazine named one of the 50 most admired African-Americans in the U.S., told the crowd that there are certain questions that you have to proactively and honestly ask yourself if you indeed are going to be a beacon of change.

“I stand before you today because I represent the future that Dr. King could not see, but he fought for through many dangers, toils, and snares,” Daniels-Carter said. “You see me today and I don’t look too bad … but I’m here to tell you that I don’t look like what I’ve been through and I know many of you can attest to the fact that you don’t look like what you’ve been through.”

Daniels-Carter is the first African-American woman to be elected to an NFL team board of directors, the Green Bay Packers, and is also part-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. The first question, Daniels-Carter said, that she has to ask herself is: Who am I and what do I really want to become?

“It is not about who you are, it is not about where you are going … it’s about your perseverance to get to where you are going and to not allow anything or anybody to get in your way,” she said. “Greatness is purposeful servanthood with integrity that pursues after excellence without compromise. It ignites the inward qualities of a believer and causes them to radiate from the inside out. It is who you are when you have acknowledged and accepted your core spiritual attributes and are a living testimony to divine purpose.”


P_NoonCeremony201701-681x484.jpgPublic gathering celebrating Dr. King, Capitol Rotunda, Madison, Wisconsin

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker welcomes Dr. Overby to the stage

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Dais singing “We Shall Over Come”

_D3S6248 copy_TVDxO.jpgAudience joins hand and sings “We Shall Overcome”_NAO1663 copy_TVDxO.jpgJadon Nathanael Colbert rendering an excerpt from Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech;
Jadon is a 6th grade student @ St. James Catholic School.  Jadon is active musically @ St. James.  He is part of the band and often sings and plays his guitar for mass.  Jadon also sings with the Madison Youth Choirs (Boychoir).  His favorite subject is math and he hopes to someday become an architect. He is the son of Roy and Rev. Jackie Colbert.

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Jonathan welcomes the audience…

_3XD2205_TVDxO.jpgMLK Honor Guard pays tribute to those who gave their lives during the Civil Rights Era.

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The Brown Sisters of Chicago shared their talents with festive gospel music.

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Vanessa Dukes of the Brown Sisters leads the audience in singing…


Tremper High School Wind Ensemble conducted by Dr. Kathryn Ripley from Kenosha, Wisconsin performs at the 2017 MLK Ceremony.

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Jonathan invites the audience to celebrate to stand and celebrate King’s life…his opening remarks…“Good afternoon, and thank you for being a part of Wisconsin’s commemoration of Dr. Kings life, and legacy in words and music featuring the Brown Sister of Chicago, The Tremper High School Wind Ensemble from Kenosha, Wisconsin and Leotha Stanley and Friends.

The theme for this year’s tribute and ceremony honoring the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is…“The Journey Ahead”…a theme grounded in celebration, reflection and tribute to Dr. King – who was taken from us 50 years ago.  In some African traditions, when an elder of the tribe dies, it is said, “a great tree has fallen”.

Dr. King was a “great tree” whose life was rooted to a cause that has yet to be conquered – that cause, grounded in the American dream, was dedicated to the pursuit of equality for all Americans and the reduction of human hatred.  Sadly, HIS ‘dream’ remains for some in our great nation, deferred, for a later time.

I’m reminded of texts in many sacred works that call upon followers to treat people who are different, the stranger if you will, with kindness, respect, love and hospitality.  Such adages appear, Hinduism, Sikhism,
 Sufism, in the Holy Koran, the Holy Bible, and they 
appear in the often misunderstood religious traditions of Buddhism, and the Afrocentric spiritual traditions of Candomble, Santeria, Vodou, and many, many more.

Sadly, in some circles, we’ve allowed our lack of understanding of others and their cultural traditions, to influence how we see and embrace them, causing some to fear those who we deem as “different”.

Such fear has increasingly turned to hate.  That hate, far too often, results in despicable acts that insult and cause injury to humanity here in the U.S. and all around the globe.  Today, as we celebrate Dr. King’s life and legacy, let us use this occasion to PLANT new trees along the pathway of our journey ahead.  As we do, in our coming and going, let us look for ways to serve the poor, the marginalized, and the disenfranchised.

And now, in remembrance of what Dr. King lived and died for, I invite you to stand and greet each other in the spirit of good community.”    –Jonathan


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Guest Speaker, Dr. Valerie Daniels-Carter, addresses the audience.  Daniels-Carter highlights Wisconsin’s 37th annual MLK Tribute and Ceremony

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Audience members listen to Daniels-Carter speak.

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_NAO1271 copy_TVDxO.jpgRabbi Andrea Steinberger leads the Invocation

_NAO1312 copy_TVDxO.jpgDais Dignitaries and guest singing “We Shall Overcome”

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Dr. Valerie Daniels-Carter thanks audience for the opportunity to speak and to share her amazing personal narrative.  “Greatness is purposeful servanthood with integrity that pursues after excellence without compromise” –Daniels-Carter

_3XD2618 copy_TVDxO.jpgPresentation of MLK 2017 State Proclamation


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talks with reporters on April 28, 1967, Kenosha, Wisconsin
Paul Shane/AP Photo