Western New Yorkers gathered together Sunday night to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It's an event that gets larger each year and this year there was a special guest. Hundreds were on hand at Kleinhans Music Hall for an annual tribute to Dr. King. Members of the Buffalo Performing Arts Academy Choir opened the program with the National Anthem. The night is a celebration of Dr King's work to end racial segregation.
"It's important to remember Martin Luther King because, he helped us to learn how to strive for things that people had serious difficulty with, without going to violence, without going to strife. He found ways to get people to come together, based on what was right and what was good," said L. Nathan Hare, a member of the celebration committee. The audience held a special guest, the current Prime Minister of Somalia. Mohamed Mohamed moved to Western New York more than 20 years ago. Late last year, he was nominated to be the African Nation's Prime Minister.
"It has been very tough, I have been away for three months and I have been dealing with a tough situation...where you have al-Qaeda controlling basically half of Somalia... especially in the south of Somalia. I've been trying to find a way to eradicate them," the Prime Minister explained. He's back in the area visiting family and friends.
One of the first speakers of the night, Bishop Tommy Reed of the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Orchard Park said, "We pray for the further development and enhancement of his dream. May we climb the mountain that he climbed tonight and see the wonderful vision that he saw."
The evening's celebration is also a chance to honor several local community leaders and high school students. "Somewhere in the area of 60 children are going to receive an MLK appreciation award. One from each of the Buffalo high schools," L. Nathan Hare explained.