The City of Albert Lea has been having a celebration in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for 29 years!
Each year, a different aspect of accepting that all people are created equally, no matter the race, gender, religion (you name it!) is highlighted.
This year's program opened with a welcome from community members, including the Mayor.
The welcome was followed by the singing of the Finlandia Song of Peace and the presentation of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Award to two high school seniors (one recipient couldn't attend) for outstanding community service.
This year's program highlighted that religious freedom is a right we should all be given.
The local Lutheran Pastor Mark Boorsma gave some words before Kahlil Houri of the Islamic Resource Group of Minnesota spoke to the crowd.
Both spoke of how religions should be celebrated and respected for their differences, not ridiculed.
And words of Martin Luther King, Jr, were also recited.
“Darknesss cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that,” said Linda Cruz-Lares, reciting one of the MLK, Junior's most well-known quotes.
Houri said that Islam is a religion of peace, despite what is happening in the world.
Houri added that peace is something taken for granted, and that most people don't realize that one of the main facets of Islam is to have an open heart and mutual respect for all beings.