Several hundred people turned out Monday morning to commemorate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. and pledge to keep his dream alive.
The event at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center featured music from the Boston City-Wide String Orchestra and a keynote speech by Jonathan L. Walton, a professor of religion and society at Harvard Divinity School.
"We need the wisdom of Martin Luther King, Jr.,'' Walton said in an address that called on the audience to bring King's values of ethics, civil justice and equality to today's highly commercialized society. "Brothers and sisters, we have to wake up.''
Five area school children received $2,500 scholarships: Prince Collins, a senior at Jeremiah E. Burke High School, a scholar athlete who was born in Ghana; Tatiana Burgos, a senior at Madison Park Technical and Vocational High School who wrote an essay about the need to address disparities in society; Laetitia Dorsinville of the John D. O'Bryant School for Mathematics and Science, who wants to pursue a career in health care; Valerie Nieves of the O'Bryant School, whose accomplishments include membership in the Junior Naval ROTC program and Marilyn Pineda, also of the O'Bryant School, who is captain of the school soccer team and is active in her church.
The scholarships were sponsored by the Liberty Mutual Foundation.
Eighth grade students from Orchard Gardens School in Roxbury also won an art contest based on the theme "What Dr. King's Dream Means to Me.'' They included Berilann Gomez, Dawnasha Elliot, Jackie Mendez, Jahmi Dujour-Marshall and Rachel Pizarro.
They will receive a $1,000 scholarship from Citizens Bank.