In ceremonies large and small across the country, the nation paused to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a slain civil rights leader whose birthday is commemorated each year through a federal holiday.
Locally, there were various events to observe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, including one at the Lewis Abraham Boys and Girls Club in Lacoochee.
Speakers lined up to offer remembrances of King, who would have turned 90 this year.
Cassie D. Coleman, president of the Martin Luther King Committee, organized “The Dream that Changed the World” event.
She read from Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
As a pianist played a quiet ballad, punctuated by responses of “amen” from the crowd, Coleman recited these words: “With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”
Coleman extended a warm welcome, to all those present, and the audience joined in singing, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
“Today is an awesome celebration,” Coleman said, reverently.
“We just don’t celebrate a man, but we celebrate a prophet that was sent by God to change the world as we know it,” she said.
Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez was among those attending.
“Dr. Martin Luther King devoted his life to advance equality, social justice, opportunity for all and challenged all Americans to participate in the never-ending work of building a more perfect union,” Hernandez said.
She emphasized the important role that citizens have in creating a safer and unified community.
“It’s Dade City’s desire to educate our residents to remember the dream that changed the world,” the mayor said.
The Pasco County Community Choir took the stage and amplified the gymnasium with their voices — accompanied by piano, tambourine and rhythmic hand claps from the audience.
Then, the Rev. Dr. Willie Roberts delivered his message: “I challenge all of us here today to dare to dream,” the minister said.
He noted that Dr. King’s vision was bigger than himself and compared him to such pivotal figures as Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
He emphasized that making a dream come to fruition involves risk, and he asked the audience what they were willing to give up, in the quest for a better tomorrow.
He asked the audience to ask themselves: “Are you here to hinder, to help or to hurt?”
The program concluded with several pre-collegiate high school students taking the stage to read the biographies of female civil rights advocates, including Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Ella Baker and Ida B. Wells – who were instrumental in advancing Dr. King’s cause.
Published January 30, 2019