Advancing The Dream
Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. “Advancing The Dream” (formerly “Sharing the Dream”) Celebration was organized in 1989 by representatives of the Arlington Independent School District, City of Arlington, Arlington Ministerial Association, Black Citizen’s Advisory Committee, U.S. Postal Service, Marian Anderson Society and the University of Texas at Arlington. Dr. Don Pike, who served as the pastor of the First United Methodist Church, chaired the first citywide event. It was this spirit of participation that led the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee to broaden the celebration’s appeal to include people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.In 1990, enthusiasm continued to build and the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee, Inc. was established as a non profit charitable organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a charitable organization under Regulation 501(c) (3).Your tax deductible donation funds scholarships for area students. The Advancing The Dream Essay Contest and Advancing The Dream Art Contest offer students an opportunity to showcase their creativity and knowledge of Dr. King’s dream.Winners are formally recognized during the MLK Holiday Celebration.
About the Celebration
Over the years, art and essay competitions, banquets, college preparatory workshops, art, multicultural festivals, diversity training, and step shows have been incorporated into the four-day celebration.
The Advancing The Dream Banquet is the kickoff event for the four-day celebration. The dinner program features a motivational speaker, student art and essay winners, dance and musical entertainment. It is hosted in the Bluebonnet Ballroom on the beautiful campus of the University of Texas at Arlington.
College Explore was added in 1994 offering high school students opportunities to explore college life and interact one-on-one with student leaders from participating college campuses.Junior Art Reach was established in 1996 for students ages 6-13. Through creative art and storytellers, students broaden their awareness about diversity and Dr. King’s dream.The Advancing The Dream Step Show remains a popular competitive activity for students. Creative performances “step” to the dreams and ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Winning teams earn cash prizes for their school.The Advancing The Dream Multicultural Festival is an international celebration of cultural music, food and fashion. Admission is free. This event is hosted by Tarrant County College Southeast Campus in Arlington.
Worship services hosted by various churches throughout the city continue to be an important component of the celebration. Each year, an Arlington area church opens its doors to host the 90-minute service that features area choirs, and motivational speakers. The Ecumenical Service is named for The Rev. Hubert Moss whose leadership continues to inspire and embrace unity among Arlington’s faith-based partners.
Advancing The Dream Youth Extravaganza is music and drama held on the Dr. King Holiday. The celebration drew such large audiences in 1994 that it was moved from the Arlington Community Center to the Arlington High School Auditorium. In 1995, the event was relocated to a larger facility at UTA’s Texas Hall – where it is taped and rebroadcast on the local community access cable channel.
Since 1989, contributors and supporters of the celebration have expanded to include the Star-Telegram, United States Postal Service, financial banking institutions, utility companies, and a host of local businesses, individuals and nonprofit organizations whose tax deductible contributions build the success of the celebration and fund college scholarships for hundreds
Arlington’s MLK Celebration has been successful, in large part, because of the Arlington community. Much success is also attributed to Committee’s dynamic leadership. Committee members have included an impressive list of community leaders who believe that “Advancing The Dream” means keeping the Dream Alive. Thank you for your support!