It was a celebration particularly special to the foundation, as they were also honoring the late congressman and founder of the Central Brooklyn Martin Luther King Commission, Major R. Owens.
The master of ceremony was Chris Owens, Owens' son. Throughout the ceremony, friends of Major Owens and family graced the stage with kind words of inspiration honoring the late congressman.
"Education will remain a pathway of opportunity for all our children regardless of the neighborhood they live in," Chris Owens said, reciting words President Barack Obama had said of his father. “He was a strong voice in the fight to lift up those left behind, and his commitment to serve the people of New York never wavered.
"As we talk about footsteps, thank you President Barack Obama for those words," Chris added.
Another of the congressman's sons, Millard Owens, asked the audience, "What did Dr. King stand for to you? Shout it out."
There was no moment of silence as children, adults and elderly shouted back, "peace, freedom, justice, togetherness," and more.
A procession was led by a drummer from the nationally acclaimed, award-winning Ifetayo Youth Ensemble, followed by 21 kids from elementary schools, middle schools and high schools all over Central Brooklyn who were recognized by the commission for their achievements in essay, poetry and art.
The full Ifetayo Youth Ensemble performed, as they did for First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House, and were later recognized and given a community award by Borough President Eric Adams.
“This great organization that stands behind me has done an amazing job with limited resources,” Adams said. “So I want to make a commitment here as the the borough president of Brooklyn that I'm going to find the money to put in organizations like this.”
A video put together by Medgar Evers College to remember Major Owens was also shown. Powerful music and images flashed across the screen, but the last one made the most impact as Owens held a sign that read “Educate not War.”
Generations gathered in the auditorium to honor those they had lost, and to recognize those who continue to carry on their ideals.
"All of these people who fought, died and gave of themselves such that there would be young men and women, middle-aged men and women, people who essentially come from all walks of life, from every shade of the rainbow able to come in this campus and enjoy the fruits of their own mind and brilliance and do so such that they are able to see their own generation, the next generation sitting here," said Medgar Evers College president Dr. Rudolph Crew.