Cassopolis nonprofit hosts MLK Day events

Published 12:45 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2023

CASSOPOLIS — A local organization celebrated the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by engaging the community Saturday and Monday.

Cassopolis-based nonprofit organization League for Encouraging Empowerment hosted its 24th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration events.

The celebration kicked off Saturday with LEE’s Scholarship Fundraiser Dinner and Ceremony. Proceeds from the dinner generated more than $1,300 toward scholarships for graduating seniors at Ross Beatty High School in the names of Dan Lee and Elizabeth Pittman. 

Honorable Mark Herman, Judge of the Cass County Circuit Court was the event’s keynote speaker.

On Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, LEE provided breakfast for residents of Stone Lake Woods and Manor Apartments in Cassopolis and Chestnut Towers Apartment in Dowagiac. Volunteers helped prepare, pack and deliver the meals. 

“We did something different this year,” said Carmen Peake, CEO of LEE. “Instead of just having the church service on Monday, we wanted to try to do something else to bring more community involvement. We want churches to be involved  but we want to try and get everyone involved.” 

According to Peake, the residents who received the meals were happy to be thought of.

“They loved it,” she said. “They were surprised, but they enjoyed it.”

After providing breakfast, LEE hosted its annual march from the US Post Office to the Historic Courthouse parking lot. Among those in attendance was Cassopolis Public Schools Superintendent Dr. John Ritzler.

“I was glad we had new faces here today,” Peake said. “With the school superintendent coming out, that was very nice and a nice surprise, you know?”

Peake hopes that LEE’s efforts encourage more people to get involved in the community.

“We just want more people to just know that it’s about community service, about helping the people in the community,” she said. “It’s not about us just sitting and having a program and then at the end of the program we don’t do anything. We’re trying to do things. Action speaks louder than words and that’s what Martin Luther King did and that’s what we’re trying to do.”