About 120 people honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in what Gwen Nordgren, Paradise Center for Tolerance and Nonviolence board president, called an "auspicious occasion."
Many Americans are seeing the election of the nation's first black president as a fulfilling of the dream King spoke of more than 40 years ago.
Sue Bordelon, the center's director, said she felt the commemoration was a good way to get people to take an inspiring message out into the community.
Priscilla Hanford was the evening's Master of Ceremonies and told of growing up in New Jersey under the influential hand of her mother, who was shunned for a year by the town ladies for "breaking the color wall" after bringing an African-American to a private party. She said her mother was a big believer in servant-leadership, "the very thing Martin exemplified."
Josiah Breevaart recited one of his favorite King quotes: "If I am stopped, this movement will not stop because God is with this movement."
"It just means that what he was doing was too big to be stopped," Breevaart said.
Other youths also participated in "Martin's BIG Words" section and quoted their favorite King quotes.
The evening ended with the audience singing "We Shall Overcome."