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Gray Swears In MLK Commission

Barrington M. Salmon | 1/15/2014, 3 p.m.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray Gray swore in 17 new members to the District of Columbia's Commission on the Martin Luther King, Jr.Holiday at the John Wilson Building in Northwest on January 6. Photo by Roy Lewis

“You represent racial and gender diversity, age diversity. We also have activists, religious leaders, the media, cultural leaders – real diversity in this room,” Gray said. “I want to recognize the significant contributions of people making a contribution to the city.”

“You are and will continue engaging in activism from 2014-2016. And in case you’re wondering, I plan to be around to be a part of that.”

Felton, coordinator of the DC Library’s Teen Programs and Partnerships, agreed with Gray.

“As a member of the commission, I think it will be a great opportunity for me to get youth more engaged in organizing and celebrating events around the holiday and all year round,” she said. “I think that all civil and human rights issues are important for youth. They must understand past and present struggles for self-determination especially as they get older and become eligible voters. It’s key they have a full knowledge of what happened in the past. It’s very important.”

“It’s a great opportunity for the commission to bring youth to the forefront of planning for events and let people know about the resources available to learn more about Dr. King and his legacy. As the partnership coordinator, I will make that one of my priorities on the commission.”

 Gray said the reconstitution of the MLK board represents a push by him to revive them so they can help enhance different aspects of the District’s growth and development. Many boards under former Mayor Adrian Fenty were rendered obsolete, and since 2012, local attorney Darryl Gorham, head of the Office of Boards and Commissions, has identified qualified residents and vetted them to fill hundreds of board slots.

“I don’t know why, but a lot of boards and commissions were not considered important,” said Gray. “There were 900 vacancies in the Office of Boards and Commissions and he’s worked it down to where we are current. These boards and commissions are very important and we should not miss the opportunity.”

WI staff writer Sam P.K. Collins contributed to this story.