The People’s A.M.E. Church, led by the Rev. Dr. Sandra Whitley, and the Chelsea community honored the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the annual breakfast and awards ceremony Jan. 21 at Chelsea High School.
The Rev. Whitley and the Planning Committee put together another impressive tribute to the late Dr. King, the civil rights leader who dedicated his life to promoting unity and delivered one of American history’s greatest speeches, “I Have A Dream,” on Aug. 28, 1963 in Washington, D.C.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino, State Rep. Dan Ryan, Council President Damali Vidot, Councillors Leo Robinson, Joseph Perlatonda, and Enio Lopez, School Committee Chair Richard Maronski and member Yessenia Alfaro, CBC President Joan Cromwell, Latimer Society Co-Director Ronald Robinson, and Roca Executive Director Molly Baldwin led a slate of dignitaries in attendance at the tribute that featured, singing, dancing, awards, and inspirational speeches.
The Chelsea Hub, a network led by the Chelsea Police Department and comprised of 27 different agencies, received the prestigious Spirit Award in recognition of its ongoing efforts to help people facing difficult challenges. Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes, Capt. David Batchelor, Officer Sammy Mojica, Community Engagement Specialist Dan Cortez, and Roca Assistant Director Jason Owens were among the award recipients.
The highlight of the program arrived when Lucia Robinson-Griggs stepped to the podium and delivered the keynote address.
Robinson-Griggs, who holds degrees from Bentley and Lesley and is a former high school and college scholar-athlete, rose to the occasion with a heartfelt and eloquent address to the people of Chelsea.
“I’d just like to start by saying thank you so much for inviting me to be here today to celebrate Chelsea while honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Robinson-Griggs, adding that she was honored to be the keynote speaker after receiving the Young Adult Dreamers and Achievers Award in 2018.
She noted the “I Have A Dream” and “We are all created equal” theme of the program, stating, ‘it’s incredible how relevant [Dr. King’s famous speech in 1963] still is here in 2019.”
She encouraged members of the audience to carry on Dr. King’s legacy “even when it isn’t easy to do so.” She said everyone should work for a better Chelsea in the years to come.
“So my words today are going to be a charge for the people in this auditorium to reach beyond this room and change the perspective,” said Griggs-Robinson.
She singled out the Chelsea High student choir (who performed at Gov. Baker’s inauguration), the Latimer Society (in encouraging careers in STEM), and the award recipients, The Chelsea Hub and others, as being positive influences in the city.
Briggs-Robinson cited her personal experiences as an associate head coach of the MIT women’s basketball team, relating how the coaching staff encourages its players to be “a part of the solution and be a builder, to find the good somewhere and work to help build up someone else.”
She said that people should be positive in their actions and in their interactions with others, that even a small act of kindness or an inspiring phrase or a compliment can have a profound effect on starting to change another person’s life.
“Kindness catches on,” said Robinson-Briggs. Strive to be someone’s builder every day. Be their bright spot and give hope that we can be the generation to make Dr. King’s dream a reality.”
Robinson-Briggs received a warm, standing ovation as she returned to her seat beside her parents, Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson and Linda Alioto-Robinson, and City Manager Tom Ambrosino in the front row of the auditorium.
The Rev. Whitley concluded the impressive program by having all audience members join hands and sing “We Shall Overcome.”
And in an unsung but important gift to the community, CCCTV Executive Director Robert Bradley and Technical Director Ricky Velez videotaped the entire two-hour program and tribute to Dr. King, including Robinson-Griggs’ remarks, for broadcast on the local television station.