Frigid cold temperatures couldn’t stop more than one hundred community members from attending the 24th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Ceremony at The Ridgefield Playhouse this afternoon. For more than two decades, Ridgefielders have gathered on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, to celebrate and honor the courageous civil rights leader and reflect on the ways we can make the world a better place.
A highlight of this free community event was recognizing Ridgefield residents walk in the path of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with their actions and deeds. Today, the Spirit of Dr. King Community Service Award was presented to Dr. Carol Mahlstedt, who was instrumental in leading the creation and operation of Compassionate Ridgefield and Project Resilience. A special posthumous award was presented to the family of Sharron Lavatori. Sharron, who served on many nonprofit committees and helped her fellow neighbor happily and often, was known by many as "The Angel of Ridgefield.”
When Ridgefield organizations and residents come together in word and song, all things are possible! The Ridgefield Chorale, under the direction of Daniela Sikora, brought attendees to their feet with "Lean On Me" and "Put A Little Love In Your Heart". Members of A Better Chance of Ridgefield, Lashawnna Mullins, Natalie Esikumo, and Tyra Small shared powerful words including "I, Too," by Langston Huges, and a personal narrative from RSH Names Day panel. Westport actress, singer and poet Kimberly Wilson read "His Eye On The Sparrow" with beautiful conviction. And, ACT of Connecticut Children's Choir sang "Children Will Listen" by Stephen Sondheim.
Thanks to Ridgefield resident Mark Robinson, the powerhouse behind this important community celebration and much appreciation to Allison Stockel, the Executive Director of The Ridgefield Playhouse for providing the perfect venue for today's celebration.