Arkansas The Culture

MLK Event Organizer Encourages Vision-to-Action Plan

For 21 years, Jeff Moncrease has organized a unity march and celebration in Conway, Arkansas, on MLK Day. The march begins at City Hall and ends at the Faulkner County Library.

During a celebration Jan. 20 honoring the life and accomplishment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jeff Moncrease encouraged attendees to take an extra step in helping to progress King’s legacy and dream.  

Jeff Moncrease

Moncrease is co-founder and executive director of the Political, Economic and Social Empowerment (PESE) Coalition. It’s an initiative that works to get people involved in the community. For 21 years, he has organized a unity march that began at City Hall and ended at the Faulkner County Library, 1.5 miles away.  

The celebration at the library began with prayer and collective signing of the Negro National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing. Contemporary gospel artist Tanj sang her single He’s Been Good 

Audience sings Lift Every Voice and Sing

Aidan Eslinger was the keynote speaker. Eslinger, 14, is an author, actor, playwright and business owner. He began writing books at the age of 5 and produced his first play at 8.  

His message was to encourage folks to not wait to make a difference. King, he reminded the audience, graduated from high school when he was 15 and accomplished everything he did in life before his assassination at age 39. We can do the same, Eslinger said, if we’re willing to step out of our comfort zones and progress toward making a real difference.  

Aidan Eslinger
Aidan Eslinger’s presentation at MLK event in Conway, Arkansas

“It doesn’t cost anything to do good,” Eslinger said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re 6, 16, or 66, if we are all willing to be uncomfortable, make some noise and do good, we will be able to accept and complete the challenge: vision to action.” 

Eslinger ended his presentation with singing Better Days by Le’Andria Johnson.   

Moncrease encouraged everyone to commit to the vision-to-action challenge by moving beyond dreaming to actively participating in improving the world around us.  

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