Scottsdale set to celebrate 25th anniversary of MLK dinner gala

Carmen Perez-Jordan is keynote speaker for the 25th annual Martin Luther King Jr. “Living the Dream” Community Dinner celebration on Jan. 16, 2019 at Embassy Suites, 5001 N. Scottsdale Road. (Submitted photo)

Come partake in the 25th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. “Living the Dream” Community Dinner Celebration.

Hosted by the Community Celebrating Diversity and APS, the event is set for Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019 at the Embassy Suites, 5001 N. Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale.

Tickets are still available for the celebration that traditionally attracts more than 400 people. Registration is 5 p.m. and dinner starts at 6 p.m.

Carmen Perez-Jordan, an expert in addressing the juvenile and criminal justice and system accountability, will be the featured speaker.

Mrs. Perez-Jordan, an activist, has worked on civil rights issues including mass incarceration, women’s rights and gender equity, violence prevention, racial healing and community policing.

She credits her notable mentor and boss, the legendary artist and activist Harry Belafonte for helping her spearhead initiatives in “working for the liberation of our people,” which results in friendship and support, she states on her website.

“Those that are being divisive are playing the enemy’s game,” Mrs. Perez-Jordan says. “And, so it is our responsibility to find our way in. There is an entryway for everyone into the movement; so get involved, stay involved; and, keep your eyes on the prize.”

As the executive director of a nonprofit named, The Gathering for Justice, founded by Mr. Belafonte, she promotes peace through civil and human rights, building alternatives to incarceration and violence, while assisting with creating state and federal policies.

Helen Gandara, one of the organizers of Scottsdale’s annual MLK dinner celebration, is familiar with Mrs. Perez-Jordan’s work. She notes that she is “very relevant” and will be able to inspire attendees just like past speakers for the event.

“We have had many civil rights speakers, but we haven’t had a lot of young people,” Ms. Gandara says during a phone interview from Texas on Dec. 17.

She notes how receptive attendees were with last year’s keynote speaker who was young and motivated a crowd of varying ages.

“We want to be consistent with what we did last year,” she says, recognizing how special the 25th anniversary celebration will be.

Scottsdale’s MLK dinner was initiated by CCD’s founding members, Sandra Rembrandt and Don Logan whose vision was for Scottsdale to host its own Martin Luther King Jr. celebration instead of traveling across the valley to Phoenix for celebratory events.

The Scottsdale community has since embraced Dr. King’s legacy by hosting its own celebration that attracts people Valleywide and has secured world renowned speakers.

The CCD organization, which is the 2018 Sterling Award Non Profit Honoree, will also reveal during the event its Diversity Champions who exemplify Dr. King’s philosophy and positively impact the Scottsdale community.

For more information, go to: ccdarizona.org.

Independent Newsmedia News Services Specialist Delarita Ford can be reached by e-mail at dford@newszap.com.

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