Franklin, Quiñones Headline Realizing the Dream Events at UA

  • December 16th, 2016
Realizing the Dream 2017 Concert and Legacy Banquet flyer

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Legendary gospel artist Kirk Franklin will headline the 2017 Realizing the Dream Concert at The University of Alabama’s Moody Music Concert Hall Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Prior to the concert, the Realizing the Dream Legacy Awards Banquet will take place Jan. 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Bryant Conference Center Sellers Auditorium. The banquet’s keynote speaker will be John Quiñones, a veteran ABC news figure and host of the highly rated hidden camera ethical dilemma news program “What Would You Do?”

This year’s theme, Realizing the Dream Through Acts of Courage and Compassion, will highlight the 28th annual Realizing the Dream event series, which celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

UA, Stillman College, Shelton State Community College and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference host the series.

Kirk Franklin

Known as an incomparable gospel artist, speaker, author, businessman and humanitarian, Franklin has been a mainstay atop Billboard charts for more than 20 years.

He is the winner of 10 Grammy Awards, 39 Stellar Awards, 16 Dove Awards, eight NAACP Image Awards and two BET, or Black Entertainment Television, Music Awards.

Quiñones has literally become “the face of doing the right thing” to millions of fans through “What Would You Do?” A San Antonio, Texas, native, he began his odds-defying journey as a migrant farm worker who, through the life-changing power of education and a lifetime of never taking no for an answer, has emerged as one of the most inspiring keynotes in the speaking world today.

John Quiñones

At the banquet, Wendell H. Paris Sr. will receive the Mountaintop Award, Isabel Rubio will receive the Call to Conscience Award and Fan Yang will receive the Horizon Award.

Paris became involved in the civil rights movement as a young man enrolled in Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in 1961. Throughout his adult life he has been involved in a leadership capacity in a variety of organizations and efforts that promote not only civil rights, but also economic development designed to sustain communities that are typically comprised of lower-income minorities.

He received the Martin Luther King Jr. Man of the Year Award in 1988. Having accepted a call to ministry, he presently serves as director of membership care and visitation with the New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss.

Rubio serves as executive director of the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, or ¡HICA!, a nonprofit organization that facilitates the social, civic and economic integration of Hispanic individuals and families through its educational, leadership-development programs. Greatly influenced by the changes to her home state of Mississippi brought upon by the struggle for civil rights, Rubio founded the coalition she now serves.

She earned degrees in history and social work and worked in social services for eight years in the greater Birmingham area prior to creating ¡HICA!

A doctoral student in the School of Social Work at UA, Yang created an international pen-pal exchange that ultimately evolved into Heart Touch, a vibrant UA community outreach program that operates in collaboration with community partner Tuscaloosa’s One Place.

Born of Yang’s heart for unity and social justice, this program is realizing the dream by going beyond traditional borders to bridge international cultural gaps that are at the root of global conflicts.

Other events in the Realizing the Dream event series are:

  • The SCLC will sponsor Unity Day activities beginning with the Unity Breakfast at Beulah Baptist Church at 7 a.m. Jan. 16. Judge Rickey McKinney will be the speaker.
  • The Unity Day march starting from the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School and Beulah Baptist Church will begin at noon.
  • The annual Mass Rally will begin at 6 p.m. at First African Baptist Church. The speaker will be the Rev. David Gay.

Realizing the Dream concert tickets are $15. Legacy Banquet tickets are $25 for individuals or $200 for a table of 10. Dress is semi-formal. Tickets for both events will go on sale through the Moody Music Building box office Jan. 4.

Box office hours are 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday. To contact the box office, phone 205/348-7111. For more information about Realizing the Dream activities and events, visit the website at For questions, email


Carol N. Agomo,, 205/348-7405


Jamon Smith, media relations,, 205/348-4956

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.