Rev. King’s dream continues to resonate
Charles NAACP hosts annual breakfast honoring civil rights leader
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrated on the third Monday of each year. And every year, the Charles County NAACP branch hosts a breakfast open to all citizens to cel- ebrate the legacy of one of the most prominent faces of the civil rights movement.
During Monday’s breakfast, guest speakers and legislators reflected on King’s legacy and what it means for people today. Many pondered what King would think about the current political climate and how he would handle many of the issues the country is facing.
Citizens had different answers, but everyone had one thing in common: No matter what political, religious or social affiliation an individual came from, they still respected what King did for the country.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) said King should be “recognized as a founding father” around the country.
“He wasn’t the same generation, but each of us can be founding fathers in keeping his dream alive,” Hoyer said.
In Hoyer’s opinion, King would want people to renew their faith in the country despite the surrounding division left over from the rhetoric of the latest election cycle.
Del. Edith Patterson (D-Charles), chairwoman of the Charles County Delegation, said people must put aside their differences and honor King’s legacy. And doing that means coming together and heeding the call to “help others.”
“In memory and honor of Dr. King, each day calls for American citizens from all communities to work together to provide answers to our most urgent state and national issues,” she said.
After all, it was just 60 years ago, she said, when King led marches and advocated for civil rights. The need for that has not changed much, she said.
Lisa Weah, the senior pastor at New Bethlehem Baptist Chruch in Bal-
timore, said more often, day after day, things grow worse and worse. The times and tragedies of today often remind her of stories of Babylon from the Bible.
Things like legislators at- tempting to “dismantle” a common citizen’s right to vote, police officers hurting the constituents they are supposed to be protecting, gang violence, drug abuse and many other issues are what lead her back to scriptures involving Babylon.
She called many communi- ties across the country “frac- tured” and talked about the division among Americans. When thinking about how to fix things, she said, “I like to think to myself, what would Dr. King have to say?”
There will soon need to be a solution, Weah said, especial- ly for African-Americans, because one of the only people in power who can connect with the black experience, Presi- dent Barack Obama, is leaving office at the end of the week.
There has to be something that will resonate across the black communities that King fought for and, eventually, was killed for, she said.
Juwan Blocker, a senior at Parkdale High School in Prince George’s County and a student board member of the Prince George’s County School Board, said everyone’s perspective matters, but the facts are that there are minori- ties around the country “who are not being heard,” he said.
“It’s evident in this society that all lives matter to every- one, but we have minority groups who are still being overlooked,” he said.
That’s part of the problem that needs to be corrected and part of what Weah says is the solution to issues, not only in the country, but around the globe. When people are able to look at each other as family and take care of one another, she said, society will be able to move forward and be more unified.
If King were alive today, she said, he would say “don’t kill my dream.” He would continue his fight for equality while asking people to come together and search for understanding in one another.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Hate cannot drive out hate,” she said, quoting King. “Only love can do that.”
Janice Wilson, the head of the Charles County NAACP branch, said King had a dream and everyone has dreams, but it is time for everyone around the country to “wake up.”
Part of making King’s dream a reality is dealing with the issues at hand, which include the state of divisiveness around the country.
“We have to work to tear down any fences that divide us, that keep us out,” Wilson said. “How we treat others is the most important work we can do.”
Juwan Blocker, a senior at Parkdale High School and the student board member on the Prince George’s County Board of Education, delivers a poem on black life to the crowd at the NAACP’s Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast on Monday.
Baltimore pastor Lisa Weah addresses the audience at the Charles County NAACP branch’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast on Monday during the celebration of King’s birthday.
Janice Wilson, president of the Charles County Branch of the NAACP, addresses the audience to close out the NAACP’s breakfast commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday.
North Point High School students, staff and Junior ROTC participants are called to line up for recognition by Charles County State’s Attorney Tony Covington before the rest of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast is continued.
State Del. C.T. Wilson sits among the audience with his daughter as Rep. Steny Hoyer addresses attendees on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.