By Tiffany Woods
The YMCA of South Florida’s 12th Annual MLK Inspirational Weekend made a huge impact on the community! The weekend of inspirational events helped keep Dr. King’s legacy alive by reminding us to use our voices to speak up for what is right while using our hands to serve our neighbors.
The Y kicked off our celebration of Dr. King with an Inspirational Breakfast last Friday at First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale, followed by an Inspirational Luncheon at Temple Israel in Miami. More than 800 community and business leaders came out to hear words from Civil Rights Activist Diane Nash. Nash is best known for integrating lunch counters and organizing the Freedom Rides.
As Nash reflected on her fight for justice, she reminded the audience that for change to happen, it has to start with yourself. She says, “We changed ourselves and decided we were not going to stand for segregation. When you change yourself, the world has to fit up against the new you.” Undeterred by jail time and fierce op-position, Nash says she per-severed for generations unborn. “Even though we hadn’t met you, we loved you,” Nash says. And she gave the audience a challenge. She reminded the audience that social injustices are still present today, and challenged them to speak up for future generations.
A true hero and supporter of the Y, Nash also shared that both her children learned to swim at the Y. She shares the Y’s concern for drowning prevention and investing in to-morrow’s leaders.
Student and community leaders were recognized for service and leadership at both events. Thaliah Sicard from Hallandale High School and Ryan Alamo from Coral Reef High School were presented with scholarships and honored with Youth Leadership Awards for their academic success and community involvement. Com-munity Spirit Awards were given to US District Judge Darrin Gayles of Miami for his dedication to service and passion for mentoring underprivileged youth, and to the Mizell family for their trailblazing efforts to create social change for African Americans in Broward County.
The celebration continued on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday when the Y kicked off its largest Day of Service yet. With the help of 1,500 volunteers and 22 service pro-jects, the Y impacted more than 117,000 lives in our community – from foster care children to homeless veterans, and families to seniors. Projects included home repairs, community and park clean-ups, beautification projects, homeless veterans and foster kids care packages, and more.
Thank you to all of our sponsors, including JM Family Enterprises, FPL and Broward College, whose generous sup-port made this possible.