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Wealth of events honor life of leader

TribTown • Music, speakers, awards help city mark Martin Luther King Jr.'s. birthday

In the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Monday, thousands of community members will convene throughout the weekend to pay tribute and enjoy musical and other performances.

One of the longest-standing events is Monday's 23rd annual 'Keep Alive the Dream ' tribute, sponsored by the nonprofit World Arts Foundation Inc.

The seven-hour event will feature music by gospel groups as well as the Jefferson Dancers, the Boise-Eliot Elementary School choir and a performance group from Woodlawn Elementary, among others.

Local leaders who have been invited to speak include Gov. Ted Kulongoski; Portland Mayor Tom Potter; U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; state Sens. Margaret Carter, D-Portland, and Avel Gordly, I-Portland; and Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith.

'It's a day on, not a day off,' said Portland educator Michael 'Chappie' Grice, who co-founded the institute. 'It's celebratory. They get to see their children, students, family, politicians. It's not a press conference.'

Since this year is the 40th anniversary of the civil rights leader's death, Grice said the foundation will alert people to the opportunity to participate in a national Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial, still in the fundraising stage, is an effort to commemorate King's life and work in world peace through nonviolent social change.

The local tribute has attracted more than 2,000 community members in years past and outgrown its space at Jefferson High School. This year it will run from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Highland Christian Center, 7600 N.E. Glisan St.

Other Martin Luther King Jr. Day events include:

• A tribute Friday led by the Oregon-based Holistic Peace Institute. It's set for Portland State University Center Restaurant, 310 S.W. Lincoln St.; admission is $15.

• A memorial mass Saturday, sponsored by the African American Catholic Community of Oregon. It will be held at 5:30 p.m. at St. Mary's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 1716 N.W. Davis St.

• The second annual Drum Major Ecumenical Service on Sunday. In addition to music by the Northwest Gospel Project, it will include awards given to five local leaders who have made contributions in the spirit of King, Coretta Scott King and Rosa Parks.

This year's recipients are Gordly, North Portland Bible College co-founder Beth Nance, longtime Sunday-school teacher Wilma Pitre, and Sho and Loen Dozono, organizers of the Flight for Freedom and Flight of Friendship trips. The event is set for 3 p.m. at Vancouver Avenue Baptist Church, 3138 N. Vancouver Ave.

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