Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

Community celebrates legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Boy Scouts from Troop 558 in Arlington march with the U.S. and Texas flags during the Martin Luther King Day parade in downtown Fort Worth last January.
Boy Scouts from Troop 558 in Arlington march with the U.S. and Texas flags during the Martin Luther King Day parade in downtown Fort Worth last January. Star-Telegram archives

To commemorate the birthday of civil-rights pioneer Martin Luther King Jr., committees in Fort Worth and Arlington have events planned for the long weekend coming up.

In Arlington, the MLK Celebration Committee — headed by Lemuel Randolph — has announced a four-day agenda of events. Assisting Randolph, who heads the city parks department, with organizing the festivities are Cheryel Carpenter and Sharon Jones.

“We invite the public to participate in the largest Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in Texas that is produced by a single committee,” Randolph said. “The 27th year of this celebration will incorporate the collective vision of the city of Arlington, UT Arlington, AISD, TCC and the Arlington Ministerial Association. It takes place over four days and offers activities and events in all areas of the city and for all ages.”

On Friday, the Advancing the Dream Awards Banquet will kick off the four-day celebration in the Bluebonnet Ballroom at UTA. Guests will enjoy dinner and entertainment along with the presentation of scholarships and the announcement of the MLK art and essay contest winners.

Other special presentations will include naming individuals or groups receiving awards in education, government and community service. Keynote speaker is Gary Smith, the lead pastor at Fielder Church.

In charge of the banquet is Lisa Thompson, who said that Christian artist Lance Brown has been commissioned to do a painting during the banquet. “Lance Brown will complete a large-scale canvas painting of Dr. King’s dream in less than 20 minutes right in front of a live audience. Each canvas tells a story of hope, love and inspiration.”

The painting will be sold in a live auction in addition to a series of black heritage postal stamps. The proceeds will benefit Arlington MLK programs and scholarships, Thompson said.

Banquet tickets are $45 and can be purchased online at

On Saturday, a step-show competition is planned at 11 a.m. at Bowie High School. Tickets are $10 each and $5 for elementary students and children under age 5. Then at 3:30 p.m. at Tarrant County College, a multicultural festival is planned. Admission is free. Saturday wraps up with the Evening of Spoken Word poetry contest at 7 p.m. in the Bluebonnet Ballroom. Admission is $20 per person.

On Sunday, the MLK Hubert Moss Ecumenical service featuring Evelyn Parker, dean of theology at Southern Methodist University, is at 6 p.m. at Most Blessed Sacrament Church, 2100 N. Davis Drive.

On Monday, hundreds of volunteers will head out to complete community projects for the MLK Day of Service. And new this year is the MLK Festival, planned from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Levitt Pavilion, where guests will enjoy live performances, art, food trucks and other fun activities.

The celebration concludes with the Youth Musical Extravaganza at Fielder Church, 1523 W. Pioneer Parkway. See additional details at

Dance students can audition Feb. 6 for Joffrey Ballet summer program

Area dance students who have dreamed of being a part of the highly respected Joffrey Ballet School based in New York City will soon have a chance to make their dream come true. The school will partner with an Arlington dance studio to host auditions for the well-known summer programs run by Joffrey.

Students from the Dallas-Fort Worth area can audition Feb. 6 at the United Performing Arts Company for the Joffrey 2016 summer intensives training program. Auditions will be in areas of musical theater, ballet, jazz, tap and contemporary dance.

Studio owner Angie Meister said students will learn the outcome of the auditions two to three weeks after they perform. “Those chosen will receive an acceptance letter from Joffrey Ballet School's registrar with what intensives they are eligible to attend as well as any scholarships they may have earned,” Meister said.

The Joffrey Elite Dance convention is a national competition for high-level dancers and hosts competitions in various cities each year. This year, the final competition will be held in Arlington on May 14-15.

“The Elite Dance Tournament is for all studios and dancers that have a passion for competition … and promotes the best in dance education and the spirit of competition,” said Meister.

Contact Meister at 817-801-6648 to find out what to bring to the auditions and other requirements. The studio is at 2304 W. Park Row Drive. Sign up for the auditions at

Events at a glance

▪ Arlington Chamber Young Professions (ACYP) Happy Hour is Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Restaurant 506 in The Sanford House. This is a come-and-go event the opportunity for networking, building relationships and exchanging business cards with the young professionals. Registration is $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers. Register at (find the Young Professionals link under the “Chamber” menu).

▪ Nominations are due Feb. 26 for the 2016 Outstanding Small Business, Veteran-Owned and Not-for-Profit Organization of the Year Awards. Winners will be recognized at the 2016 Salute to Small Business Awards Luncheon on May 5. The Small Business Awards will be judged on business longevity, employment growth, sales increases or added services, financial strength, response to adversity, and contributions to aid community oriented projects. The Not-For-Profit Organization Award will be judged on organization longevity, volunteer growth, patrons served, innovativeness, collaboration with other not-for-profit agencies and response to adversity. Award Recipients must be a current member in good standing with the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. Nomination form is available at or contact Henry Lewczyk at 817-543-4284.

▪ American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) New Connections Chapter will meet Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center St., for dinner and a program. Guest speaker is Bobby Whisnand to share the “7 Secrets to Lifelong Wellness.” Members pay $55 and guests $40. RSVP by sending an email to

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