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Contact: Robert T. Parker, (404) 331-6922
ATLANTA – On Thursday, May 09, 2013 at 1:00 p.m., the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, in partnership with the International World Peace Rose Gardens (IWPRG) organization, will host its 21st annual "I Have A Dream" World Peace Rose Garden Program. This free event is open to the general public and will begin with a ceremony in Heritage Sanctuary of Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and will end with the unveiling of the engraved winning messages located in the Rose Garden on the site‟s plaza adjacent the south side of the National Park Service Visitor Center. This program is part of an ongoing series of special events commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.‟s „I Have A Dream Speech" and the historic 1963 March on Washington.
This year, approximately 2,000 students from schools in the Atlanta metropolitan area and throughout the world including students from China, the Gaza Strip, and California, was invited to present written messages that reflect their own unique thoughts on the ideas of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & Mrs. Coretta Scott King. The messages are evaluated and selectees are formally recognized at the Historic Site‟s annual World Peace Rose Garden Program. The top 30 selected messages along with each student‟s name, school, and grade are engraved on a plaque to be placed in the Site‟s Rose Garden for one year for public enjoyment.
"The annual Inspirational Peace Contest inspires creativity about peace and help youth from around the world connect with Dr. King‟s universal message of peace, love, service and nonviolence" said Superintendent Judy Forte. The students‟ messages, according to Superintendent Forte, "demonstrate their commitment to the principles of nonviolence. I look forward to exhibiting the students‟ messages for public enjoyment at the Rose Garden.
"The annual Inspirational Messages of Peace Contest is making a difference in the lives of students around the world. In Gaza Strip, a teacher wrote, "We have had very tough times in Gaza…. You have no idea how happy this email made me and how happy our students and my team will be. Thank you once again for understanding our difficulties and including us again this year. We are very lucky!"
More than 700,000 annual visitors come to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site from all parts of the world. When visitors stop to enjoy the beautiful rose garden, they learnthat the garden is a living interpretation of the lives and ideals of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King. When reading the symbolic meaning of the garden design and the powerful messages of peace by our youth, many are deeply moved, while others have positive conversations and delightful opinions about what they have read. It is common to see Park Visitors videotaping and taking photos of the plaques and of the charming rose garden.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site and Preservation District was established by Congress on October 10, 1980 to preserve, protect, and interpret for the benefit, inspiration, and education of present and future generations the places where Martin Luther King, Jr. was born, where he lived, worked, and worshipped, and where he is buried. It consists of more than 38 acres (13 federally owned) near downtown Atlanta. It includes 67 historic buildings, most built between 1890 and 1910.