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Peekskill Organization Hosts Annual MLK Dinner In Cortlandt

Norma Johnson is being honored by the Preservation Company at its annual Martin Luther King dinner.
Norma Johnson is being honored by the Preservation Company at its annual Martin Luther King dinner. Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Preservation Company

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- The Preservation Company of Peekskill will host its 11th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dinner in Cortlandt Sunday, Jan. 18.

The dinner, held at Colonial Terrace , will honor Norma Johnson and The Champions of Hope for keeping Dr. King's dream alive in Peekskill.

The Champions of Hope, a countywide committee to help families meet their housing needs, raised $2,000 through an ArtsWestchester exhibit to make repairs to Preservation Company properties.

Johnson, a teacher, has been a board member of Hudson River Health Care for more than 30 years, and is also a member of the Peekskill Improvement Center and a board member of the Lakeland Educational Foundation. Seven years ago, she joined Westchester Seniors Out Speaking program.

She is also a member of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church,  Zeta Nu Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority,  and Words of Wisdom Book Club.

The Preservation Company aids tenants in need of eviction prevention and also helps with first months' security or rent. In addition, the organization works to inform tenants of their rights and hosts workshops for first time homeowners on financial fitness and foreclosure prevention.

The organization has been in Peekskill since it was founded in 1988.

"We want to keep Dr. King's vision and dream alive," Reverent Jeannette Phillips of The Preservation Company, said. "The only way we do that is to share those thoughts with the community annually."

Phillips praised Johnson for being a longtime advocate for education and health care.

"She's been a mentor for so many of the students she's come in contact with," Phillips said. "She's always concerned about the quality and access to healthcare for residents in the community."

More than 200 people attend the event each year and Phillips is glad the community supports The Preservation Company and the work of Dr. King.

"We have to come together with our diversity," Phillips said. "We want to educate our young people about the rich legacy of people like Dr. King."

Phillips said she hopes, like Dr. King dreamed, that people are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

"We need that today more than any other time," she said.

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