BRIDGES To Receive “Be The Dream” Youth Leadership Award “Be the Dream” Weekend Celebrates Legacy of Dr. King and Memphis Civil Rights Pioneers, Promotes Youth Empowerment and Community Service 

Posted by BRIDGES Web Team on Jan 15, 2015

The Second Annual BE THE DREAM MLK Weekend, which coincides with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on January 19, will include the MLK Commemorative Celebration, 2015 BE THE DREAM MLK Legacy Awards, Youth Empowerment Symposium and various service projects across the city.    

The City of Memphis played a pivotal role in the American Civil Rights movement, and BE THE DREAM weekend events celebrate the legacy of Dr. King and reflect what we’ve accomplished and the work that remains for us to achieve genuine equality and social justice in our city and nation.   

“Be the Dream honors the enduring legacy of Dr. King, whose life and death transformed the story of civil rights in America,” said Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. “And while we honor his legacy, we know each and every one of us has a hand in writing the next chapter. We come together not only to reflect on where we’ve been, but to think critically about where we are and where we want to be.”   

BE THE DREAM Weekend will kick off with a Youth Empowerment Symposium from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 17, at the Cannon Center. The event will prepare teens ages 15-19 for summer job opportunities. Participants will receive tips on job readiness skills, resume writing, filling out job applications, proper job-seeking attire and etiquette, and ways to market their skills and talents. To register a youth participant, please go    

On Monday, January 19, from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m., the public is invited to celebrate Dr. King’s birthday at the MLK Commemorative Celebration, which will take place at the historic Mason Temple, where Dr. King delivered his final speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” 

The spirit-filled worship celebration will include the presentation of the 2015 BE THE DREAM MLK Legacy Awards, honoring living individuals whose lives have embodied the spirit and legacy of service, sacrifice and hope that defined the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.    

This year’s honorees are: Father Nicholas L. Vieron; Dr. LaSimba Gray; Velma Lois Jones; Nancy Bogatin; Dr. W.W. Herenton; Barbara H. Nixon; Johnnie B. Watson; Modeane Thompson; Judge Bernice Donald; and the 1968 Sanitation Strikers.   

In addition, BE THE DREAM Youth Leadership Awards will be presented to BRIDGES and Knowledge Quest, while the MIFA (Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association) and Latino Memphis will be honored with the 2015 Community Leadership Awards.   

Following this celebration, Memphians will head out to various service projects across the city, including a MIFA (Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association) meals delivery to homebound seniors and a “blight fight” beautification project. In honor of the national holiday’s designation as a day of service, Mayor Wharton encourages all residents to join these existing service projects or register their own at    

“Dr. King’s spirit lives on in the hearts of those who serve their neighbors in need,” Mayor Wharton said. “It lives on in the passion of young people who envision a society in which all people are respected, their lives equally valued. It’s not enough to speak of Dr. King’s dream; we must continue to live it each day.”