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Manistee students, diversity group, theater teamed up for MLK Jr. Day event

Manistee – Lisa Adams pulled a Martin Luther King Jr. quote on a piece of paper from a gift bag before getting her movie ticket to see “Selma” on Monday morning at the Vogue Theater in Manistee.

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Adams noted, “I think it’s interesting that we still fight for civil rights. It’s kind of sad.”

Adams was one of a number of people who attended the parade Monday as part of an effort by the Manistee District Justice and Diversity Initiative and others who wanted to create an event that would combine Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Service Day.

The event included a free screening of the film, a table that moviegoers could donate to local organizations, and served as a way to encourage local students to connect with the holiday.

Sheryl Stenwick pulls a slip of paper containing a Martin Luther King Jr. quote from a gift bag as Lisa Adams waits for her turn at the Vogue Theater on Monday.

Ariel Brin/News Lawyer

Jane Butterfield, a founding member of the Racial Justice and Diversity Initiative in the Manistee District, said the initiative has been outreach to students last year and has decided to continue the plan through 2022.

Butterfield said the group had previously worked with Manistee High School Tolerance and wanted to join former Manistee County resident and teacher Shirley Madden.

“One teacher invited Shirley to speak in his class about her experience as an African American woman growing up in the Detroit area. It just sparked interest and so Shirley suggested we run an essay competition last year,” Butterfield recalls. “We brought it up with a group of high school teachers from the Tolerance Group (to share) with active students.”

The effort turned into an essay contest for Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day.


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