TOPEKA (KSNT) – Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is observed on the third Monday of January each year.

The Topeka Center for Peace and Justice in partnership with Living the Dream, Inc. sponsored the 29th Annual Community Celebration and Chili and Soup Dinner at the New Life Baptist Church, 3601 SW 10th Avenue.

The free Chili and Soup Dinner started at 6 p.m. followed by a music and testimonial program at 7 p.m. Val Bauman with KTWU was mistress of ceremonies, Topeka Mayor Michael Padilla gave the welcome, LaQuanda Jacobs of the Innocence Project sang and shared her experience about her false imprisonment. Dr. Beryl New, director of Certified Personnel and Equity Council, Topeka Public Schools was the keynote speaker.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led marches for the right to vote, desegregation, labor rights and other civil rights. He oversaw the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and later became the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King led the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial,

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.”

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.