Weekend highlighted with events honoring MLK

Published 9:48 am Wednesday, January 18, 2017

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Presenting excellence was the purpose of the MLK Gala: Blossoming Minds on Saturday at the Orange County Convention and Expo Center.

“We have to speak it to see it,” MaQuettia Ledet said. “Better racial relations, better economics. You are in Orange, you are a game changer.”

Reverend Larry Anderson was presented with a certificate of recognition for serving the community with 31 years of reciting Martin Luther King’s I have a Dream speech.

Orange City council member Essie Bellfield was honored with the Legend Award.

“I am a champion for the people,” Bellfield said.

Bellfield marched with King during the March on Washington and is the first female and first black mayor of Orange.

Dawn Burleigh/The Orange Leader Reverend Larry Anderson recites Martin Luther King’s I have a Dream speech during the MLK Gala: Blossoming Minds on Saturday.

Clinton Vital/The Orange Leader
Reverend Larry Anderson recites Martin Luther King’s I have a Dream speech during the MLK Gala: Blossoming Minds on Saturday.

Orange City councilmember Larry Spears Jr. won the Government Award.

“All the nominees greatly touch the people in Orange,” Spears said. “I dedicate this award to my mother and to everyone in the category as you have touched so many.”

Pastor Ronnie A. E. Crockett was honored with the Integrity Award for serving the community and encouraging his congregation to serve the community.

Al and Dean Granger were honored with the Bridge Award for bridging barriers.

“It is up to the people of Orange to make Orange great again,” Dean Granger said.

Mt. Olive Baptist Church won the Image Award.

“It is not about one face,” Rev. Ronnie A. E. Crockett said. “It is about all faces moving in one direction.”

Honorees and award winners were selected by an online survey.


On Monday, Overcoming Barriers through Building Strong Families was the theme of the Orange Branch NAACP MLK Day March.

The march began at Solomon Johnson Park at the corner of 2nd and Turrett and ended at Orange City Hall on Green Ave.

Outgoing NAACP President Franklin Gans introduced incoming President Pastor Demetrius Moffett.

“I have enjoyed working in the community with you,” Gans said. “Hopefully keeping the dream alive, which is still required of each one of us. We have not yet arrived but are making steps in the right direction.”

NAACP will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, at the WOCCISD Administration Building located at 902 West Park Ave. in Orange. All are encouraged to attend and join.

“We will take up the cause of equal rights,” Moffett said. “Come hear what we are doing. Without you it is nothing.”

Gans also said membership at with the Orange Branch of NAACP is not restricted by race.

“It is for anyone who wants to join,” Gans said.


MLK Gala Community Poll Winners:

Student of Year Boy-Keyshawn Holman

Student of Year Girl-Claydra Rhodes

Athlete of the Year-KJ Miller

Teacher of Year-Diztorsha Lavan

Emerge Award-Demaric Judge

Image Award-Mt. Olive Baptist Church

King Impact Award-Leroy Breedlove

Health and Wellness Award- Tudy Polk

Business of the Year- Tricia Stroud Photography

Government Award-Larry Spears

Woman of the Year- MaQuettia Ledet

Man of the Year- Damion Henson

Gala Honors:

Bridge Award- Al and Dean Granger

Integrity Award- Ronnie A. E. Crockett

Legend Award- Essie Bellfield

Coach of the Year- Dedmon Lee