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Buffalo’s MLK celebration: A call for ‘justice and equity’

Local and state elected leaders and members of the African American community gathered downtown for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at the Buffalo Convention Center Monday. It marked the 27th year for the annual Scholarship Breakfast hosted by the New Hope Baptist Church. WBFO Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley attended.   

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Gospel Choir from the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts.

The Gospel Choir from the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts performed at the MLK celebration. Students showcased their talents in celebration of Dr. King's dream for America. In a country divided, many who spoke Monday called for peace, justice and equity, reminding one another of Dr. King's celebrated words. 

SUNY Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner delivered the keynote address.  

“Today we are seeing a deliberate interjection of falsehood, fabrication and out and out conscious lies and to the written and spoken space. Some have called this new era ‘a time of post-truth.’ We must fight a world that embraces lies over the truth,” declared Conway-Turner.

The Buffalo State leader also spoke of being “vigilant” and to watch for “coded speech.” 

Conway-Turner encouraged the community gathered to follow King's dream and work toward helping children receive their education.  She is asking the community to move toward “equity and justice” and says we must demand “civility.”       

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SUNY Buffalo State President Katherine Conway Turner delivered the keynote address.

Buffalo and Western New York Regent Representative Catherine Collins was also a guest at the event. Collins tells WBFO the country and state “must pull together.”

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Western New York Regent Representative Catherine Collins was also a guest at the event.

“Certainly that was one of the legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King is to pull us together and have us work together on all of the issues present and past, I’m hoping people got the sense of his renewal of pulling all people together,” said Collins. 

Newly sworn-in Erie County District Attorney John Flynn was among several elected leaders who attended Monday's celebration in honor of the slain civil rights leader. Flynn talked about the importance of honoring King's fight for justice.   

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Erie County DA John Flynn attended the event.

“Dr. King used a word over and over again in the course of his ministry and the course of his public life which was justice and from my stand point, as Erie County District Attorney, I need to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and that justice meted out properly and if I can do that, then I’m carry on the legacy of Dr. King,” Flynn stated. 

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