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BHDC's Day of Service Draws Large Crowd at Annual Event to Honor Martin Luther King Jr.


The Berkeley Heights Diversity Council organized a day of service on Monday by bringing together different generations to honor and remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr. at Autumn Lake Healthcare at Berkeley Heights. The event celebrated inclusiveness, culture and divesrsity. 


The first activity the diversity council introduced was the bingo games. Hoping to rejuvenate the elderly with interaction with games and children, the diversity council set out to bring together a fun and enjoyable experience for all residents, elderly and young.


As one of the leaders on the diversity council, Jimmy Joseph, said, the day of service is a way to “interact and engage” with residents at Autumn Lake Healthcare.


In attendance were Mayor Angie Devanney, Council Vice President Susan Poage, and councilmen Peter Bavoso, Manny Couto and Stephen Yellin as well as many volunteers from the local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts troops.


After four rounds of bingo, all residents listened to two young girls’ to emulate one of their idols Martin Luther King Jr.’s in his “I Had a Dream” speech. Joseph’s daughters, Ciana and Mia Joseph, both shared their interpretation of the speech through another notable figure.


Ciana Joseph recounted the important aspects of John Lewis’ life, a freedom writer and civil rights activist. Recalling the phrase in King’s speech, “I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,’” Joseph goes on to explain that John Lewis embodies King through his “fight for freedom.” 


Her sister, Mia Joseph, then went on to illustrate Lebron James’ impact on her life through his admirable leadership qualities. She is inspired by James’ devotion to helping “not just African Americans but all races”. To show James’ inspiration and his effect on her and others, she cited from King’s speech, “when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’”


On a national remembrance day of a monumental civil rights leader, a day of service in Berkeley Heights helped to continue the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. One of the leaders of the Berkeley Heights diversity council, Damian Facy, hopes that the day of service will bring everyone together and create a welcoming and inclusive environment to learn more about diversity.


Originally published in TAPinto Berkeley Heights, January 24, 2019

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