Youth focus of King Day Banquet
GRASONVILLE — At every table in the Grasonville Community Center on Saturday evening, Jan. 14, was a piece of paper attached to a paper bag that had a picture and quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Before the King Day Banquet, an annual celebration hosted by the Grasonville Community Center to honor the life of the civil rights activist, attendees had the opportunity to reflect on his statements.
As people walked into the community hall, located at 5601 Main St., Wayne Curtis and Christopher Sudler played piano and saxophone at the front of the room. The theme for this year’s King Day celebration was “Saving our Youth.”
Mistress of Ceremonies Minister Tywanda Griffin of Abundant Life Restoration Ministries in Centreville told the audience of about 20 people that the children are the future and that it is up to the community to help bring them up “the right way and in a positive way” because there is so much negativity out there.
Grasonville Community Center board member Christina Rochester thanked the group for attending and read a quote from King.
“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well being of a person or animal is at stake,” she said. “Society’s punishments are small compared to the woulds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
But before Andre Sorrell, guest speaker and minister at Greater New Hope Church and Ministries in Preston, could share his thoughts about how to better shape the younger generation, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” was played and sung, student Joel King read a speech from King about education, and a chicken, ham and vegetables dinner was served. Following dinner, Sudler and Curtis performed “Amazing Grace.”
Sorrell, a Grasonville native who received his certificate in Theological and Biblical studies from Covenant Theology and Ministerial School in Florida in 2009, said reflecting on King’s speeches as a whole the first thing that came to his mind was the idea that people were created to stand out and never fit in.
Sorrell said there are three common areas “that we as a community, we as families, we as mothers, sisters and brothers ought to instill in our youth to prepare them to survive out here in this world.” Those three areas, he said, are empowerment, entrusting and encouragement.
With a focus on those three things, Sorrell said the younger generation would have the tools to survive in the world, but the responsibility to instill those values does not just rely on the individual family.
“I believe that it takes a community, it takes a nation to raise a child,” Sorrell said. “... I believe that if we can unify as a community and as a people that we ourselves can affect the change we desire to see.”
With changing times, Griffin said while reflecting on Sorrell’s words, it is important for the older generation to set good examples for the youth to follow because they are always looking up to them, and that it is the responsibility of the community surrounding the youth to show them the positives “so they can take that out to the world and do.”
Closing the ceremony, Jones said it is important to instill memories in the youth and that giving them affirmation makes a difference.
“We have to come together,” Jones said.
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Minister Andre Sorrell of Greater New Hope Church and Ministries in Preston, speaks to the audience about “Saving our Youth,” the theme for the Annual King Day Benefit Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Grasonville Community Center.
A quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sits on a table at the Grasonville Community Center on Jan. 14 during the King Day Banquet. “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do you have to keep moving foward,” it reads.
Chris Sudler, saxaphone, and Wayne Curtis, piano, play “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” during the Grasonville Community Center King Day Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 14.