Ive Been to the Mountaintop, the prescient speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the eve of his assassination in 1968, was like an oratory bookend to his history-making I Have a Dream address. Responding to death threats, the reverend used what would be his final speech to recount the days in Birmingham, Alabama, when director of public safety Eugene "Bull" Connor turned out the dogs and turned on the fire hoses. There was a certain kind of fire that no water could put out, King said. And we went before the fire hoses; we had known water. That couldnt stop us. For 12 years, Youth Speaks' "Bringing the Noise for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." has celebrated the voice and vision of King through the voices and vision of promising young poets and musicians. While outrage is the eager fuel of youth, this years theme, A Certain Kind of Fire, burns with equal parts of hope. Certainly, the election of Americas first African-American president, even a full 45 years after King proclaimed his dream of a nation that would rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, gives heart to those still climbing the mountain. Tonights special guests include the Grammy-awardwinning Pacific Boys Choir as well as the formidable Yuri Kochiyama, a human-rights activist who was interned during WWII and held Malcolm X while he lay dying at the Audubon Ballroom.
Mon., Jan. 19, 7 p.m., 2009