ALTON - The recent NAACP Alton Branch Martin Luther King Ceremony was special on many accounts, from the keynote speaker to some of the area legends in attendance, but most notable was how President Leon Smallwood Bey and others involved some area youth in the event.

Nine-year-old Myles Lacey stole the show with his vocal rendition of “Total Praise.” Myles was simply great, said the event’s master of ceremonies, Rosie Brown.

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“People loved him,” she said. “It was so impressive to have Myles and the other young people come out with their skills and portray their love for Dr. King.”

Jyion Harrison said he felt great to be there and it was the first time he could be there for the annual NAACP King event.

Harrison proudly read the following quote from Dr. King in the ceremony:

“The measure of a man is not where he stands in comfort and convenience but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”

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Tori Porter, president of the NAACP Youth Council, said she felt like the program was great overall and she felt blessed to be there representing the other youth for such a good cause. She said she was so proud of the younger participants for how they handled their different speaking and singing roles.

"I feel this was a great program," Tori said the day of the King celebration in Alton. "I am blessed to know everybody in good spirits and we are there together for a good cause.”

David and Sheila Goins were both impressed by the involvement of the youth in the program, the keynote speaker and the program in general.

“The young people were impressive, especially the young man who sang,” Mayor Goins said. “He also sang the following day at a NAACP event in Edwardsville where I spoke.”

Sheila said she was very proud of all the youth who participated and said it does make the program special every year.

David Goins said it is imperative to remember Dr. King and the impact he had on society.

“He was only 39 years old when he was shot and killed,” Goins said. “Dr. King would be 95 now. His life has touched generations since his death and, evident by this year’s program, it is still reaching new generations.”

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