It's been more than five years in the making, but the moment arrived Friday, an event that's so big was called a gamechanger for the city of Boston, a moment that is expected to live on and shift the conversation around social justice and racial equity in the city, across the nation and the world.
It's the unveiling of The Embrace memorial on Friday, Jan. 13, on the Boston Common.
The monument is a 22-foot bronze statue of two sets of arms embracing, the arms of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King, modeled after an image of the couple hugging shortly after Dr. King won the Nobel Prize.
The artist who made the work of art, Hank Willis Thomas, said he sees it "as a call to action, a call to love."
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NBC10 Boston anchor Latoyia Edwards was the emcee for the unveiling, an exclusive, invitation-only event.
Dignitaries from around the nation were in attendance as Boston honors the Kings and the work they did fighting for racial and social equity in Boston.
The memorial will open to the public in early February, once the final construction fencing is taken down. There will be an audio walking tour as you walk through the plaza and not only walk up to but through the statue to experience an actual embrace.
Organizers say the memorial has the potential to become the Statue of Liberty of Boston, a bronze beacon of hope, a symbol that shows that inclusion matters.
More stories about 'The Embrace'
It's also an ode to their love story. Many people don't know that the couple met and fell in love here when they were both students.
The memorial will recognize dozens of other freedom fighters as well, people who blazed a trail for civil rights in Boston over the last several decades,
"I think there's an opportunity for folks to see themselves not only directly through the diversity of the individuals also honored on the plaza, but to see themselves as being a part of a memorial dedicated to love and to see themselves through the eyes of other individuals that might not look like them. Because we're all Bostonians, we're all Americans, we're all citizens of this world. And that's the promise of the embrace," said Imari Paris Jeffries, executive director of Embrace Boston, the group responsible for launching the entire project.