The 24th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Birthday Celebration is slated for 12:45 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. The event is free and open to the public and a 4 p.m. reception follows in the Bradley Pavilion.
Taking part in this year's celebration are Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra Calypso, Trinity Irish Dance, Syrenka-Polish Youth Folk Dance Ensemble, The Chinese Youth Orchestra, Northside YMCA Gospel Choir, Latino Arts Mariachi Juvenil, City Ballet Theatre and others.
Among the speakers are Janan Najeeb from the Islamic Society, Dr. Darnell Cole from MATC and Lori Waldon from Channel 12. Father Bryan Massingale, Marquette University, will perform the invocation.
In addition, students will interpret Dr . King's words through art, speech and writing. This year's theme is "America Must Change," excerpted from "A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr."
Milwaukee and Atlanta are the only cities to have honored Dr. King's birthday every year since 1984.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.