Former MLK aide speaks at Dorchester prayer breakfast
CAMBRIDGE — The Dorchester Faith Alliance hosted a prayer breakfast in observance of the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 5.
Reverend Elbert Ransom Jr. served as the guest speaker. Ransom was an aide and friend to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and participated in some of the notable events of the Civil Rights movement. He is an author, professor and international lecturer on the subjects of democracy and human rights.
Ransom spoke to attendees about how King’s message applies to our world today.
“We are all human beings, and we all come from the same identical source. We migrated through other areas of the world, took on different languages and colors, and we think we’re different. But we all seek the same thing,” he began.
“Cambridge is representative of America. You are not alone in your issues. Do not feel isolated. People are people wherever you go. From my travels, I can say we do in fact have the best country in this world. People look to us for counsel and advice on how to live in a democracy and move forward in a successful manner.”
Ransom told the story of how he met King through church. He said King taught him a lot about the philosophy of nonviolence. Since, he has dedicated his life to improving human relations across the globe.
“We as human beings, our lives are adjusted and made in such a way that when we are struck in a violent way by someone, we immediately strike back to put it down, so it never happens again. So we’ve taught a lesson,” said Ransom. “But he (King) said, ‘No, that is not what our Lord is about. We need to understand that if we believe that God has made us in his image, all of us have God within us. When the enemy comes upon us, we appeal to the God that is within that enemy and there we have the beginning of peace.’ That all comes in the dialogue that comes in the interest of creating a community of comfort.”
To illustrate the importance of nonviolence, Ransom told the story of the Montgomery bus boycott, in which he took part.
“It made the point, and not a violent act was taken,” he said.
In order to move forward, Ransom said people need to take the time to get to know each other better. They must step out of their comfort zone to learn why people behave the way they do, why they speak different languages, why philosophies differ and more, he said.
Of Cambridge, he said, “This will be a model community after a while. I see enough faces of goodwill.”
He urged everyone to ask him or herself, “What can I as an individual do better to enhance relationships?”
After breakfast, a conversation continued about what can be done to solve the issues the area faces.
“This is a special, wonderful place, the kind of place that attracts people. There are a few things that could improve. We’ve been working around a lot of these issues. There are certain things that keep holding us back,” said Cesar Gonzales, co-chair of DFA and pastor of Cambridge Seventh Day Adventist Church. “It is time that we open up, and have conversations that we must have. Difficult but honest conversations about what it takes to move this beautiful town forward. About what it takes to finally fulfill all the potential that all of us see in this town.”
ELBERT RANSOM, JR