The statue of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. is...

The statue of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. is seen during the soft opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial will be dedicated Aug. 28. (Aug. 22, 2011) Credit: AP

Civil rights and African-American leaders will hold a reception today in honor of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial that will be dedicated Sunday in Washington, D.C.

The kickoff reception will take place at noon in the Antioch Baptist Church (94 James LL Burrell Ave.) in Hempstead Village. The luncheon and reception is open and free to the public.

Nassau’s Deputy County Executive for Minority Affairs Phillip E. Elliott and others will discuss whether King’s “dream” has been fulfilled on Long Island. Civil rights attorney Sarah Kane will deliver the keynote speech.

The reception is sponsored by the Nassau County Council of Clergy, the Baptist Pastors Conference of Hempstead and the Long Island Martin Luther King Commission.

Thousands of Long Islanders will be taking buses to attend the memorial’s official dedication ceremony that begins at 9 a.m. Sunday in West Potomac Park. The program will pay tribute to King with speeches by civil rights leaders and King family members, as well as musicians and poets. President Barack Obama will deliver the dedication address.

Above: The statue of The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is seen during the soft opening of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington in August.
 

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