An­nual Youth In­fu­sion held on Sun­day cel­e­brat­ing King

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Sean Wil­liams [email protected]­

The cel­e­bra­tions of Martin Luther King Jr. Day con­tin­ued through the pre­vi­ous week­end and into last Mon­day, and one of those an­nual events saw Cedar­town’s Friend­ship Bap­tist Church once again hosted the YWTSA’s MLK Jr. “Youth” In­fu­sion cel­e­bra­tion that worked to honor King and those who con­tinue to cham­pion his mes­sages.

A com­bi­na­tion of YWTSA mem­bers (Youth Work­ing To­gether for a “Speedy” Aware­ness) and other com­mu­nity of­fi­cials pre­sented the MLK Jr. Procla­ma­tion, de­liv­ered awards, pro­vided en­ter­tain­ment, and hon­ored the new­est civil rights trail­blazer in the form of Min­is­ter Frank Ken­neth Jones.

Cel­e­brat­ing un­der the idea that one should “Dis­cover to Re­cover the Dream,” Jones was hon­ored for his traits of faith, hard work, and per­se­ver­ance, among oth­ers.

As once de­scribed by YWTSA Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Pamela Baker-King, the award is given to those who truly har­bor the spirit of so­cial progress.

“It’s an award given to an in­di­vid­ual who has over­come the ob­sta­cles cre­ated by our na­tion dur­ing the post-civil rights move­ment,” Bak­erKing said. “These in­di­vid­u­als are ed­u­cated, and they pro­vide ser­vices that have made a dif­fer­ence in the lives of oth­ers. They col­lab­o­rate in the dreams of oth­ers and help make di­ver­sity pos­si­ble.”

Jones is a Cedar­town na­tive who grad­u­ated from Dou­glas High School, re­ceived a Bach­e­lor’s of Science from More­house Col­lege, and grad­u­ated with a Mas­ter of Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion from Clark At­lanta Univer­sity.

After work­ing in fi­nance for many years, Jones be­came the owner of F. K. Jones Fu­neral Home in Rome where he serves fam­i­lies as a li­censed fu­neral di­rec­tor and em­balmer.

Out­side of work, the 2019 trail­blazer is an as­so­ciate min­is­ter at Love­joy Bap­tist Church and is en­rolled in the In­ter­de­nom­i­na­tional The­o­log­i­cal Cen­ter (ITC) in their Mas­ter of Divin­ity Pro­gram.

Jones demon­strates even fur­ther com­mit­ment to his com­mu­nity by in­volv­ing him­self with the Omega Psi Phi Fra­ter­nity, Inc, 100 Black Men of Rome, the Ge­or­gia Fu­neral Prac­ti­tion­ers Of Ge­or­gia, and the Mamie R. Ham­mock Me­mo­rial Schol­ar­ship Fund Board of Di­rec­tors.

Sur­rounded by his peers and loved ones, Jones was given a plaque after shar­ing some en­cour­ag­ing words.

“This church has al­ways been spe­cial-- Cedar­town has al­ways been spe­cial,” Jones shared. “I thank God for grand­par­ents. I thank God for my mother. Be­ing raised pretty much by a sin­gle par­ent through­out the years, she had enough fore­sight to send me to be with my grand­par­ents on the week­end. Life has not al­ways been easy, but I be­lieve in God. I be­lieve that God has not put us here for any­thing but to do his will and that is to truly trust and love ev­ery one of you. I thank you for this award.”

“I’m thank­ful to be able to stand on the shoul­ders of those who have gone on. I know that we’re fight­ing dif­fi­cult times now in govern­ment, but just think about it: we’ve had our own walls we’ve had to over­come our­selves,” he added. “Even though there’s an­other wall be­ing fought now, we can look back and thank God for Dr. King and all of those who’ve come along for help­ing us make it over at least the first wall.”

Though King’s ideals live on in the form of those who in­spire oth­ers such as Jones, the event made pow­er­ful ef­forts to re­mem­ber King him­self and the sac­ri­fices he made for a bet­ter coun­try.

Cedar­town Com­mis­sion Chair Matt Fos­ter was in­vited to read the MLK Jr. Procla­ma­tion-- a doc­u­ment that both rec­og­nizes Jan­uary 21 as Martin Luther King Jr. Day and high­lights why King re­mains one of the most im­por­tant civil rights pi­o­neers of all time.

“…So, on be­half of our city, it is my dis­tinct plea­sure to bring be­fore you to­day a procla­ma­tion for Rev­erend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” Fos­ter said. “Whereas, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a na­tive of Ge­or­gia and a grad­u­ate of Booker T. Wash­ing­ton High school in At­lanta, Ge­or­gia. He was or­dained to the Bap­tist Min­istry on the 25th of Fe­bru­ary, 1948 and grad­u­ated from More­house Col­lege in At­lanta Ge­or­gia on the 21st of June, 1948. On June 5, 1955, he re­ceived a Doc­toral De­gree on Sys­tem­atic The­ol­ogy from Bos­ton Univer­sity in Mas­sachusetts.”

Fos­ter pref­aced the dec­la­ra­tion’s read­ing with his own words about the im­por­tance of to­day’s youth and how he ex­pected them to amount to great things, too.

“And whereas, Dr. King was known as the drum ma­jor for jus­tice that was able to lead our na­tion to greater heights through love and peace. He wanted to trans­form the dis­cords of our na­tion into a beau­ti­ful sym­phony of in­ter­ra­cial brother­hood, eco­nomic jus­tice, and non-vi­o­lence. On Au­gust 28, 1963, he led the fa­mous March on Wash­ing­ton where he de­liv­ered his fa­mous “I have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lin­coln Me­mo­rial-- the great­est sin­gle de­mon­stra­tion for civil rights in the his­tory of Amer­ica. He be­came the youngest re­cip­i­ent of the Novel Peace Prize on De­cem­ber 10, 1964. Whereas, his ef­forts be­came the force of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Vot­ing Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Hous­ing Act of 1968 which made it pos­si­ble for our na­tion to move closer to­wards the ideals set forth in the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence, that all men are cre­ated equal. Whereas, on Au­gust 22, 2011, the Martin Luther King Jr. me­mo­rial park was opened to the pub­lic lo­cated at 1964 In­de­pen­dent Ave., South­west in Wash­ing­ton DC. The ad­dress is sym­bolic of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Martin Luther King Jr. Na­tional Me­mo­rial Mall hon­ors his na­tional and in­ter­na­tional con­tri­bu­tions and Dr. King’s de­sire for all to en­joy a life of free­dom, op­por­tu­nity, and jus­tice. 14 quotes from his speeches and ser­mons are in­scribed on the wall. Whereas, the mem­bers of YWTSA, a com­mu­nity ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tion in Cedar­town, Ga whose goal is to mo­ti­vate and em­power by giv­ing youth the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in hu­man­i­tar­ian projects, have set the theme of ‘Mea­sure Up.’ There­fore, the city com­mis­sion of the city of Cedar­town does hereby pro­claim Mon­day, the 21st of Jan­uary, 2019, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We en­cour­age all the cit­i­zens of Cedar­town to work to­gether to unite in their ef­forts by serv­ing oth­ers and join in the cel­e­bra­tion honor­ing the life and the le­gacy of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his birth­day.”

The even­ing’s en­ter­tain­ment fur­ther high­lighted how the group ap­pre­ci­ated and took King’s mes­sages of di­ver­sity to heart. Gospel songs and hymns were pro­ceeded by tra­di­tional Latin and His­panic songs and dances by mem­bers of St. Ber­nadette Catholic Church who came to sup­port the event, and re­gard­less of eth­nic­ity or back­ground, the guests closed the event by join­ing hands and singing to­gether.

While thanks are owed to spe­cial guests such as Ge­or­gia State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Trey Kel­ley, each of the for­mer trail­blaz­ers, and the nu­mer­ous other speak­ers and vol­un­teers, few spoke with such pas­sion and vigor as Key­note Speaker Apos­tle Trixie Mor­gan who- through tears and shouts- spoke the fi­nal words of the even­ing.

“I’ve dis­cov­ered and I’ve re­cov­ered,” Mor­gan said. “I know who I am, and I’m gonna fin­ish my course. If I have to do it cry­ing, I’ll cry. I’m gonna get up and dry my tears. Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, keep mov­ing. Any­body else gonna keep mov­ing? Is there any­body else in here that’s gonna keep mov­ing? Don’t you stop and don’t you give up. God bless you. Dis­cover to re­cover the dream.”

/ Sean Wil­liams

Dancers pro­vided en­ter­tain­ment dur­ing the an­nual YWTSA MLK Youth Pa­rade of Tal­ent on Sun­day.

/ Sean Wil­liams

Top: The an­nual Cedar­town Com­mis­sion-ap­proved Martin Luther King Jr. procla­ma­tion was pre­sented with the help of youth dur­ing the YWTSA’s an­nual event on Sun­day. Above: Cedar­town Com­mis­sion Chair Matt Fos­ter pre­sented the YWTSA with a procla­ma­tion passed by the city honor­ing Martin Luther King Jr.

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