“Tonight I Realized I Am Famous,” Winans Tells Sold-Out Realizing the Dream Concert Audience
- February 3rd, 2015
- in News
By Joon Yea Lee
CCBP Graduate Assistant
The 26th Annual Realizing the Dream Concert on Saturday, January 17th in the Moody Music Concert Hall on the University of Alabama campus drew a sold-out crowd for multiple Grammy-winning gospel singer CeCe Winans. The concert was one of many events in the Tuscaloosa area honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Following introductions by sponsoring student government representatives Chris Willis, UA, Bayaka Bester Jr., Shelton State Community College, and Joseph Pough, Stillman College, Winans opened the stage with an upbeat song, “Hallelujah Praise.”
“Tonight I realized that I am famous,” said CeCe Winans, “I never saw myself on the same flyer with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And I am honored to be here….”
Winans continued her performance with inspirational speeches and prayers between songs. The audience was moved to sing, dance and pray at their seats along with Winans. At the end of the evening, audience members stood and held hands to sing “We Shall Overcome,” which has become a Realizing the Dream concert tradition.
“Winans was simply the best choice for this special occasion,” said Vice President for Community Affairs Dr. Samory T. Pruitt. “Through her words she provided inspiration and her performance was uplifting.
Among the audience were 20 students from the Center for Community-Based Partnership’s Global Café. Most were international students, invited by the Center for Community-Based Partnerships and Dr. Beverly Hawk, CCBP’s director of program services.
“It gave them an opportunity to learn about American culture and participate in it,” Hawk said. “We like to take them to things in our community and just share our community and culture with them. And Martin Luther King weekend is one of the treasures we have here in Tuscaloosa to share.”
On the evening before the concert, UA hosted the 7th Annual Realizing the Dream Legacy Banquet in the Hotel Capstone Ballroom. “We were honored to have as keynote speaker, Mr. Juan Williams,” Pruitt said. “His speech was remarkable as he described what he believes the ‘living Dr. King’ would have been like today and connected those attributes to the attributes of our honorees. All of the honorees were outstanding and the atmosphere in the Ballroom on Friday night was superb. We are grateful for the many kind notes, emails and comments from those who attended both events. Many of the notes express an appreciation for the opportunity to attend the events and an acknowledgement of the amount of preparation and attention to detail that went into making both events simply splendid. I echo those sentiments. I am proud to have been a part of this effort and even more proud of those who helped to make the events a success. They worked hard to maintain a high standard and because of their efforts, this year’s Realizing the Dream will long be remembered as a special time in the history of the University of Alabama.
UA began the Realizing the Dream concert in 1990 in partnership with Stillman College, when many communities were just beginning to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Several years later, Shelton State Community College and Tuscaloosa Chapter of Southern Christina Leadership joined as sponsors. The Realizing the Dream Committee’s purpose is to continuously raise consciousness about injustice and to promote human equality, peace and social justice.
Still to come in this year’s celebration is Bryan A. Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery and now a professor of law at New York University. Stevenson will deliver the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Lecture March 10 at 7 p.m. on the Stillman College Campus. And June 5–9 at the Bama Theatre, The ACT will perform “Dreamgirls,” this year’s MLK Performing Arts Event. The ACT (Actor’s Charitable Theatre, http://theactonline.com) is a local non-profit.