BY MADELINE NELSON
Residents of Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona gathered on April 4 for a candlelight vigil to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.
Several community organizations and civil rights attorney Catalina Cruz organized the vigil. More than 100 community members participated in this event, attended by a diverse cross-section of neighbors and local elected officials, including Congressman Joe Crowley and Councilman Daniel Dromm.
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his openly gay right-hand man, Bayard Rustin, inspired my own activism for equality and justice in America,” Dromm said. “Near the end of his life, Dr. King recognized the intersectionality of many issues including ending the Vietnam War, the need for economic justice with the Poor People’s Campaign, and the struggle for union workers, which brought him to Memphis, where he was ultimately killed fighting for those rights. Today, we recognize the tremendous contributions Dr. King made to America.”
The vigil brought many residents and elected officials who shared the ways Dr. King has inspired change in their lives.
“Fifty years later we must recommit ourselves to protecting the progress made by Dr. King and building upon his incredible legacy,” Cruz said. “I am heartened to see so many neighbors and members of our community come out to honor his memory, and stand together ready to push back against those who wish to divide us and thwart our efforts for a more just society.”
To close the community gathering, Jackson Heights resident Maurice Clayton led the attendees in a rendition of “We Shall Overcome.”