Calendar celebrates advocates who are following in MLK's footsteps

Reverend Daryl Spence featured in the Minnesota African American Heritage Calendar this year. (FOX 9)

As both a reverend and a member of the God Squad, a group of ministers who work with police to stop the violence, Reverend Darryl Spence is trying to make his community a safer place to live. In doing so, he believes he is also making Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's dream a reality.

"Each one of us has to be a peacemaker and when you become a peacemaker like Martin Luther King was, you are following in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King," said Rev. Spence.

He is one of more than a dozen people featured in the Minnesota African American Heritage Calendar this year.

The calendar highlights people of color who have made a significant contribution to the culture in our state and beyond.

"We recognize the kings and queens and heroes and sheroes within our own community. People who have impacted the lives of youth, education, the legal field, the healthcare field, said Mn African American Heritage Calendar Committee member Duane Dutrieuille.

The theme of this year's calendar is the "Advocates".

Honorees include attorney Jerry Blackwell, who helped prosecute Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, and Darnella Frazier, who took the video of Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck that helped convict the former Minneapolis police officer.

Calendar organizers say all the honorees embody the spirit of MLK by advocating for societal change, racial justice and community service.

"I think Dr. King would be pleased to see the people who have given their lives to make some changes, for not only African Americans, but to make Minnesota a better place," said Dutrieuille.

Some of the proceeds from the calendar help African American high school students in the Twin Cities visit historically black colleges and universities across the country.

In the meantime, Rev. Spence believes his passion for giving a voice to the voiceless is a calling that would make Dr. King proud.

"I don't even have a choice. I have to keep going. I have to keep trying. I have to try and be the difference that I want to see in my community," said Rev. Spence.

For more information on how to get a Mn African American Heritage Calendar, click here.