34th Annual Celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

34th Annual Celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


I served in several positions in
community effort here in our city and if I don’t mention a couple of them I
probably won’t be able to take my seat afterwards. I chair the personnel
Commission at Santa Monica College and I serve as a chaplain for the Santa Monica
Santa Monica Police Department. I also pastor acts at your set studies. Let us
pray together, Lord, we thank you for this great great occasion – the 34th annual
celebration of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s life and his legacy.
This coalition, Father, we are grateful for in our community. Thank you for our
dignitaries that have come out today to be a part of this great celebration and
this remembrance. Thank you for the young people that will be awarded various
kinds of scholarships for their efforts thank you lord we pray your blessings
over this great gathering today in your most wonderful name and we all sat
together amen god bless you good morning and welcome thank you all for coming
today it’s a glorious day and it’s a wonderful day for us to celebrate the
Reverend dr. Martin Luther King jr. who if he still lived would be 90 years old
or was 90 years old or would have been on his John January 15th the date of his
birth so let’s give him a hand I have the pleasure of introducing our
mayor of Santa Monica and lien Davis who’s going to give you a welcome good morning and thank you everyone for
coming out on this spectacular Santa Monica day to this amazing event I just
want to let you know how excited I am to be here today to celebrate with all of
you the life and legacy of dr. Martin Luther King jr. I think this is one of
the events in the city where people really genuinely talk about coming
together and making the world a better place and maybe if we can do it on more
than just one day a year we’ll really make some progress so thank you for
being part of that I also want to acknowledge that wonderful events like
this don’t happen overnight and with little energy I’d like to acknowledge
the people who’ve all been part of the planning committee that have made today
possible and I’d like them to stand up so we can all acknowledge them thank you again for all your hard work
I’m glad we could order you some wonderful Santa Monica weather for the
day and I look forward to enjoying this program with you all have a wonderful
day thank you thank you madam mayor having gleamed welcome you today is
really significant because this is the hundredth anniversary or it will be in
June of June and 2019 of the adoption of the women’s right to vote
and without that and the Ravager cake without that right and the ratification
that occurred in 1920 gleen nor I nor probably many of you would be where we
are today so we really appreciate that and we all know that when women vote
good things happen so before we proceed further into the program we want to
thank our sponsors we particularly want to thank the city for their continuing
contribution and support to us SGI USA and all their volunteers who helped us
greatly we want to thank Santa Monica College and Rand and the Fairmont
Miramar Hotel who will be sponsoring our community involvement Fair which will
follow directly after this we want to thank the Santa Monica Bay Area
Relations Council as well as City TV and last but not least we want to thank the
Santa Monica College Associates which I say for last so that I could introduce
their president Jeffery Siegel who’s with us here today Jeff thank you for
that time to be back on behalf of our organization I want to
thank you for attending today’s event for the second year in a row Santa
Monica College Associates is proudly the primary sponsor of this morning’s
program this year we are especially excited because mr. Johnson has agreed
to repeat his presentation on our campus so that students who are unable to
attend today can be part of this program for many of you who have never heard of
Santa Monica College Associates we are 212 members of the community who have
donated money and time to provide enrichment programs for the students at
Santa Monica College just last fall we provided 38 speakers and master classes
that were attended by close to 4,000 students
covering areas from social justice communication dance film literature and
science if any of you have the ability to contribute $100 per year the students
of Santa Monica College could really use your support please look for our table
that will be at today’s Community Fair thank you thank you Jeff and is our tradition we
will now try to recognize the government officials that are with us here today
and hopefully I don’t miss anybody ever forget anybody I’ll start with federal
do we have any federal officials with us today okay how about state government
officials I think we have Richard Blum here and the other state officials okay do we
have any County officials we might have a representative I don’t not certain I
don’t see anybody okay Santa Monica City Council officials we know we have gleam
Ted anybody else and did the city manager make it is Rick
here and I know we have Santa Monica police
here chief Cynthia regard Captain Charlie you don’t get away from us okay and anybody from the fire department
make it is Santa Monica College dr. Geoffrey and the college board okay anymore Santa Monica color –
associates I know Jeff anybody else so junior associate is there anybody from madam Santa Monica
Malibu Unified School District any officials from there and anybody from
the Santa Monica Board of Trustees I think I did them already okay any
military and I want to thank all of you our
donors people who give individual contributions and in case you mix missed
the donation box out front please stop by but please everybody stand and give
yourself a welcome for attending here and getting up this morning and actually
doing something instead of just sleeping again and let’s let the festivities begin good morning everyone it’s a honor to be
here my name is Jared Sheehan I’m the director of the 21st Street singers from
crossroads school for arts and sciences and we have two songs today for you this
choir is made of ninth through 12th graders we sing all styles and we’ve got
two songs that we prepared especially for you
the first one we were going to sing now it’s called bridge over troubled water
and the second one later is called something inside so strong enjoy thank
you so much it’s jeez I’ll take Oh Oh Oh boy you dreams are all new thank you all very much
and we have an representative from Sheila culés office
Zachary gyal tech you understand good morning my name is Erica Leslie I’m
a proud member of the Westside coalition I’m sorry it’s a problem with the dr.
Martin Luther King Westside coalition it is my honor to present this year’s
Education Award winners in a time where social injustice injustice ignites the
call to activism and social awareness these students have taken the torch to
be our next generation of leaders please join me in welcoming this year’s
luminaries our first honoree is not with us
unfortunately she had a family emergency so our next honoree is Jada Salazar and our next honoree is toy Carter and last but certainly not least chase
Montoya Jayda would like to say a few words there’s a lot of people in here
greetings everyone my name is Jada Salazar and I’m Dorsey high school’s ASB
president I would like to take this time to thank all of the supporters that made
the scholarship available to me in my peers I think I speak for all of us when
I say that we are extremely grateful for this opportunity our poems speeches
essays and videos have spoken for themselves and we’re driven by the
monumental market Martin Luther King jr. this is more than just a monetary award
but an acknowledgement that the youth of today are a necessary investment we are
the future senators lawyers teachers nurses and even the future presidents but most importantly we are the catalyst
for change I leave you with this quote from my poem
we are the pride of our ethnicities despite being in mental captivity we
have the ability to strive for excellency to exceed our potential and
become something monumental thank you and have a blessed day big stage long stage good morning
everyone my name is Tatiana Zamir and I’m a performing artist and I facilitate
movement therapy based workshops and retreats and I happen to be the
organizer of an amazing group that’s gonna perform for you a couple of date
and a couple of times this morning come out of breath just from running across
and really out of shape the name of our group is called East
Oakland arts collective and we represent a diverse group of artists who perform
and teach West African music and dance and really our intention is just to
uplift and inspire our community through the healing power of the arts so you
know the arts have just always been a way for us to tell our stories to
process our pain to come together to find answers and solutions and we hope
that our presentation uplifts your spirit and you get some nourishment of
the soul before we share some live music and dancing I’d like to share with you a
poem that I wrote very fresh it was about a week ago and it’s partially
inspired by dr. King’s message and and work and we’re just so happy and honored
to be here with you all the day this poem is called we are the dream we
are morning Sun rising like a new day a collection of stars shining brighter in
the dark of night we are a garden of promise blooming with each prayer each
song each fist held in the air we are the heroes and heroines we have been
waiting for keep looking for another Martin Malcolm Harriet Rosa asada to
lead the way thinking we are not smart enough brave enough or equipped enough
to be the leaders we needs a carbon empath but we are the path we are past
present and future in these bodies learning to balance struggle and
dreaming together believing in the everlasting possibility of a new day
embodying black joy spreading laughter so boisterous it we cannot be contained
let’s hold each other up in the highest light because we are morning Sun rising
like a new day a collection of stars shining brighter in the dark of night we
are a garden of promise blooming with each prayer each song each fist held in
the air waiting to come home to one another in the next performance you get up and
dance good morning everyone my name is Michele Wittig all over the country
communities like ours are convening to celebrate dr. Martin Luther King’s
birthday and to recommit ourselves to continue his work forty years ago we didn’t have this day
now we do at this moment on the program the Reverend dr. Martin Luther King jr.
Coalition bestows its community light award the most famous community light
shines from Liberty’s lamp high above the New York Harbor we are part of these
people of the United States working to keep that lamp of opportunity lifted
beside the Golden Door educational opportunity is one of the
brightest lights that we can offer the next generation at a time when some are
closing doors of educational opportunity on the most needy and vulnerable we
honor a grassroots group of faculty staff and students of our college that
has opened them wider first rule of public speaking
don’t step on your applause they saw the door closing an educational opportunity
for the innocent college-age children of undocumented immigrants they put their
shoulders together and they are pushing it back open as mr. Nick Mota and his
colleagues come up to the front please join me in congratulating the Santa
Monica College dream program now I’ll take this opportunity to read
the plaque the Reverend dr. Martin Luther King jr. Westside coalition
community light award is presented to the Santa Monica College dream program
for enacting the spirit of dr. King by providing innovative support services to
undocumented students whoo Wow thank you my name is Nick
Mathon the Santa Monica College director of special programs and on behalf of the
Santa Monica College dream program I would like to thank the Reverend dr.
Martin Luther King jr. Westside Coalition for this recognition if you’ll
indulge me for a couple of minutes I would like to make some remarks first I
would like to introduce my colleagues and my friends and my family that are on
the stage with me here today that have contributed to making the dream program
and the undock you a lie program a reality over the last year and a half
Christina fuller our dream program student services specialist on the end sette obey also our dream program
counselor sauron llaves Lukas SMC counselor and
undock Uli trainer Marysol Moreno SMC history professor and undock Uli trainer and Edna chiavari director of academic
affairs initiatives undock you Ally trainer and who I like to call our dacha
immigration law guru in addition I would like to acknowledge the SMC student
equity committee that provided the funding to establish the program also
the Santa Monica College Foundation and acknowledged the continued support of
vice president student affairs Michael to itas II superintendent president dr.
Catherine Jeffery and the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees the dream program along with the undock
you Ally program were born out of the need to create a supportive
non-discriminatory and safe environment for undocumented students on campus as
the current political rhetoric continues to demonize immigrants and hold the
federal government hostage for a wall the dream program works to encourage
develop and support the students that are the counter-narrative the daca
student from South LA who takes three buses to get to SMC every day in the
hopes of transferring to UCLA the undocumented student who works two jobs
under the table so she can pay for her tuition at SMC and contribute to her
family finances the SMC student who is a US citizen but whose parents are not
that comes to campus every day worried if today is a day that her mom or dad
gets deported and yet she makes the Dean’s List every semester the dream and
the own donkey Ali programs work tirelessly to serve any students to show them that they belong they are
safe that someone cares and that they have a right to an education the dream program is in its infancy and
as it grows and the services it provides and the number of students it serves the
light will shine on the campus and community reminding us that the work we
do in support of undocumented and immigrant students benefits all students
it benefits all of us and it benefits our country in 1966 dr. Martin Luther
King jr. sent a telegram to sesor Chavez where he wrote as brothers in the fight
for equality our struggles are really one a struggle for freedom for dignity
and for humanity dr. King truly believed that a person’s humanity was primary and
that same belief guides the work of the Santa Monica College dream program thank
you very much for acknowledging the program with the 2019 community light
award we are truly honored and humbled thank you what a wonderful program folks I come to
all of them and this one I think has broken the glass ceiling it’s my honor
to have the privilege of introducing our speaker if I can get my iPad open oh boy Monday January 20th 1986 the late Clyde
Smith then president and CEO of the neighborhood Resource Development
Corporation known as in RDC and yours truly nad Travis who was chair of the
board of NRDC at that time hosted the first annual Martin Luther King
celebration in Santa Monica by converting a parking lot in front of
NRDC office on the crossroad school campus into a
many outdoor theater Norma Gonzales then the district manager of Southern
California gas company gave the first inaugural speech we have a dream today I
am honored to be able to introduce our speaker Derek J Johnson who was recently
named founding director of the crossroads school equity and justice
Institute on August 23rd 2018 under Derek’s leadership the equity and
justice Institute will develop cohesive and comprehensive K through 12 approach
to social justice education activism solidifying crossroads founding
commitment to the greater community the Institute will help students find
meaningful solutions the challenges of our that our world faces including
racism sexism poverty war environmental degradation educational inequities
religious persecution and genocide I could not be more thrilled this is a
quote from Derek I could not be more thrilled about the prospect of
establishing Institute focused on service learning for students with the
intent of facilitating good in this world
I’m appreciative of crossroads for the bold and innovative and willing to
innovation and willing to extend this Institute’s work beyond the campus and
that means to this entire community Derek arrived at Crossroads after
serving a senior deputy to one of our good supervisors Los Angeles County mark
ridley-thomas where his achievements centered around a myriad of legislative
and systemic reform efforts he also brings extensive experience in
developing and implementing programs for nonprofits including the California
Community Foundation the Martin Luther King Community Health Foundation the
Alliance for children’s rights in the Community Oriented correctional health
services in Oakland California he was recently appointed to the Los Angeles
County Commission on Human Relations on January 8th 2019
Derek earned his master’s and public administration of Barack City
University in New York completing a master’s in business management
medicines the Pacific he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and
sociology from Pitzer and it’s my sincere honor to give you
Derek J Johnston a really really big photo good morning
everyone thank you for allowing me to be here today to pay homage to a true
social justice warrior and one of the best examples of servant leadership this
country has ever known today we honor the Reverend dr. Martin Luther King thanks also to the organizers and
charitable sponsors of this occasion the Martin King jr. Westside coalition and
specifically miss Darlene Evans and my good friend mr. NAT Travis also thanks
to SGI USA World Peace Akita auditorium for allowing us to be here in this space
today I got a good chance to meet with in McIlrath earlier so I wanted to
personally thank him for allowing us unfortunately I arrived today would
steal a heavy heart it’s permissible I would like to dedicate today’s speech to
my my cousin Bandhu Johnson who recently lost her battle with cancer this winter said know that we still love
her and we miss her greatly I’d uh I’d also like to pay my respects
to the King family who have sacrificed more than most realize I’m doubtful that
many here are actually a weird that miss Alberta King Reverend dr. King’s mother
was also assassinated as she sat at the organ at the family’s personal house of
worship every day’s the Baptist Church just six years after dr. King’s life was
taken a quick story last year April 2018 I had the honour of being present at the
fiftieth commemoration event marking an assassination of Reverend dr. Martin
King jr. he was just 39 years young one of the events was held at the Mason
temple Church of God in Christ in Memphis Tennessee hmm i sat in the pew
adjacent to where dr. King gave his public final public offering properly
known as the mountaintop speech present were various civil rights icons and
dignitaries sharing stories and paying respects to their friend and comrade I
got a chance to meet with Andrew Young and best ambassador Andrew Young
Reverend James Lawson Marion Wright Elliman Diane Nash Reverend Jesse
Jackson Congressman John Lewis and many more all their given testimony about the
man himself the turbulent time period in their experience in the struggle
needless to say I was enamored by the occasion and grateful to have been
invited to participate but I have to say nothing moved me more that day and in
the words of dr. King’s own daughter dr. Bernice King there was something both
cathartic and sobering to witness this powerful powerhouse of a woman standing
at the exact same podium that her father stood 50 years to the day prior speaking
about how she simply missed her daddy I listen to her speak about how in 50
years the family has never been allowed to psychologically bury their father
because he’s become such a symbolic figure for freedom and peace for us all
dr. King an icon worthy of acknowledgement and celebration no
question but for her purely a man that she loved and adored her daddy and she
missed him dearly today again I want to honor her in the rest of the King family
for the trauma and sacrifice they’ve continued to endure since April 4th 1968
with this in mind how MLK Day gets commodified is how abhorrent holiday car
sales at Auto squares or that casinos will host a soul food buffet in his
honor to entice folks to book rooms for the long weekend this day is sacrosanct followed by the bloodshed the lives
rachet and lost and to reflect and organizing the work still needing to be
done and by the way a day of service and volunteering for a couple of hours and
commemoration is not enough human rights work is hard and grueling
and unforgiving it’s only through perseverance and some loss that
objectives can be achieved in advanced today’s theme injustice anywhere is a
threat to justice everywhere this is the famous quote that many have heard and
recited frequently but I’m not certain if all are aware of its origins and the
context behind the phrase for those unaware the quote comes from the famous
letter dr. King pin while placed in solitary confinement from the Birmingham
jail after he and some of his supporters were arrested for violating a city order
against public protests these efforts were centered around the Birmingham
campaign the fight against racism and racial segregation policies in the city
at the time prior eight fellow ministers had contacted dr. King stating that with
the local power on stating that they felt that the timing and the tactics of
this campaign were unwise and untimely these ministers were more interested in
continuing negotiation with the lower power local power structures versus what
dr. King wanted to do was to take direct action in response dr. King decided to
answer the criticism of these ministers and to clearly articulate the necessity
of his tactics in the freedom movement I want to paraphrase portions of that
letter today he wrote to those ministers that he was very cognizant of the
interrelatedness of all communities and states and that he could not stand idly
by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what was happening in Birmingham
injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere we are caught in an
inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny whatever
affects one directly affects all indirectly never again can
we afford to live with the narrow preventional outside agitator idea
anyone who lives inside the united states can be consistent and can never
be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds he goes on the
challenge these men administers stating that too long had the South land been
bogged down in a tragic effort to live and monologue rather than dialogue and
it is a historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges
voluntarily individuals may see the moral lighten and voluntarily give up
their unjust posture but as Reinhold Niebuhr
has reminded us groups tend to be more immoral than individuals we know through
painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given up by the oppressive
it must be demanded by the oppressed and that justice too long delayed is justice
denied again I took the liberty of rephrasing dr. King’s letter emphasized
the level of opposition one must face in order to actualize a vision dr. King had
many supporters but the detractors were often his suppose and assumed allies
from grassroots movement advocates in the black community to his fellow
ministers to his own father at one point urging dr. King to stay in Atlanta and
not return to Montgomery to continue the bus boycott this opposition was constant
yet he persevered amen if we don’t think the time to learn this
type of history oftentimes we get lost into mythology both of the period and of
the person pondered this the Montgomery bus boycott 1955 to the tragedy in
Memphis 1968 was just a 13 year period all that is honored and acknowledged
historically about the King legacy happened within a very narrow window of
time personal story in indulge me for a minute today
ironically is actually my father’s birthday he’s yeah thank you because I
was actually gonna ask whether or not you guys could do a quick shout out to
my dad for a 68th birthday I think this is spirit or I’ll make sure I send that
out to her born January 21st 1951 in a rural migrant farm working community in
Arizona and thinking about my pops today and further kind of correlate the
windows of time and historical context I’ll articulate my my own father’s life
experience through timeline my father my dad planted sprayed picked and cut
cotton starting at the age of six I asked my dad if I could use his personal
history to emphasize a point and he said tell them people I did everything to cotton except on it my father was already a teenager when
the Civil Rights Act of 1964 the Voting Rights Act of 1965 Fair Housing Act of
1968 was signed into law meaning he spent most of his childhood and
adolescence living under the oppressive rules of segregation school integration
began in 1955 my dad entered his first integrated classroom in the third grade he recalls not being allowed to eat at
white-only restaurants and needing to get food orders from the back door of
kitchens which he didn’t like doing because the white owners in preparing
your food would often do unhealthy things to the meals when you were out of
sight he received no encouragement to go to school by his teachers but many
advised him against pursuing college because as a black person he was not
considered the education type quick bialon with that my dad actually
graduated from university Arizona with his bachelor’s degree for all the all the cliche tropes of
discrimination during the era to emphasize my original point sinners on
how contact gets lost when looking at history as a not so distant past again
my father is only 68 years old all this perceived progress that has been made
became rule within a single generation again he picked cotton he’s not some
archival ancestral figure from a period of slavery predated electricity so it
disturbs me personally when people make lesson informed statements such as we
have collectively transitioned into a post-racial society or that some believe
we should fight against affirmative action legislation citing reverse racism
s calls when actually these types of rules are a check on privilege in the
assumption of entitlements to access from my perch there’s still a ton of
heavy lifting need to be done before making claims of a utopian racial
equilibrium according according to current u.s.
statistics nearly half of the US population is poor or low-income one in
seven people live without below excuse me the federal poverty line half of all
children will qualify for food stamps before they turn 18 including nine out
of ten African Americans millions live with the consequences of inadequate
health care housing food education and employment recruitable justice and
immigration systems that discriminate against people of color perpetuate
racial ethnic and gender oppression and penalize poor people denying millions
access to safety equality and justice which is why initiatives like SMC’s
dream and undocumented ally programs are so vitally important as I speak today in
LA County we have public school systems with our highest need students going
without instruction due to striking teachers who are primarily demanding a
more equitable school system LA County has the highest homeless
population in the country and up and down a state we are experiencing rampant
wildfires followed by devastating floods and mudslides laying awake to thousands
in crisis or worse nationally our government is shut down primarily due to
fear of other and partisan politics a Supreme Court justice was accused of
sexual misconduct yet appointed to a highest level of jurisprudence for the
second time no less Widespread intentional and systemic
voter suppression which is a disfranchisement tactic that has been
used since the establishment of our union a restoration of Jim Crow era
policies the perplexing infuriating reoccurring and unjustified execution of
black and brown bodies by civil servants sworn to protect and serve community the
expansion of immigrant in migrant internment holding facilities posturing
for border walls while disrespecting our native and indigenous elders who are War
veterans all promoted by commander and grief hell-bent on catering to racist or
if you prefer a less inclusive America first base that is anti everything
except self-interest ideologically a homogeneous colonial
divestment campaign working against the basic tenets of humanitarianism our
current reality is nowhere near the dream dr. King envisioned oh by the way
I I don’t do inspirational speeches it’s not my thing I’m here to promote in
advance what dr. King coin is a call to conscience we we have to understand that the past
usually access prologue for the future it’s time to evaluate our moral report
cards people and the sign of let agree if I have signed the grade at this point
in time I think we’re probably about a d-plus yeah I heard somebody said that
was being generous I was trying to be not so pessimistic today dr. King once
spoke of the world house stating that this is the great new problem of mankind
that we have inherited a large house a great world house in which we have to
live together black and white Eastern and Western Gentile and Jew Catholic and
Protestant Muslim and Hindu a family unduly separated by ideas culture and
interests who because we can never again live apart must learn somehow
to live with each other in peace a united we stand divided we fall
philosophical mantra one stick being easier to break than a bundle but for
this experiment to work we must all inherit the burden this is too heavy a
load to lift only by a select few story to emphasize my last point as a critical
race and resource mobilization theorist I’m keenly aware that throughout history
periods of Great Awakening and social transformation typically begin with
small but important victories inherited by movement organizers strengthen the
capacity of communities and individuals for self governance is the most critical
task of rebuilding civil society since taking my role at Crossroads I’ve been
challenged by how to accomplish his tasks with completing with with
competing stakeholder interests kind of a world house divided if you will as an
example after the horrific Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh where
eleven worshippers were killed the administration I thought it was
paramount to address the crisis as a result within a week’s time I had
organized and produced an interfaith dialogue to discuss the rise in hate
crimes and religious persecution I wanted to talk about the value of
religious pluralism to understand binding objectives and differences all
with the intent to Quayle devices in this and organize a plan of action
between participating groups the panel included represent eight representatives
from the Muslim Jewish Christian and Pentecostal religions it ended up being
a really great night there were a couple of folks however that reached out to
administration afterwards they complain that we or I had dropped the ball on not
using the evening to elevate the rye of anti-semitic hate crimes in this
country as if the massacre on June 17 2015 at the Emanuel African Methodist
Episcopal Church where nine african-american members were slain
during Bible study was any less heinous and act this is an example by the way of
why black live the the black lives matter movement actually exists it’s not that black lives matter only as
in exclusive but that black lives matter also as inclusive that that no life is
any less valued or valuable than another they interfaith dialogue that the enj
Institute produced was developed to discuss the need for civility the call
for improved collaboration in every community for all offenses against
humanity not just for one specific group united we stand divided we fall if you have no empathy for all
violations of human dignity and civil rights
it is you who perpetuates the divisive ‘no statin in this Torontonian era of
American history now this is going to get a little controversial so just stay
bare with me I I actually there’s a part of me that really loves that Trump is
actually in office I just stick with me the level of suppressed racism sexism
and isms actually act in totality the the patriarchy in the policies that
perpetuate the expansion of disparities that have been historically the
underbelly of was foundationally been a characteristic of this country has risen
to the surface the need to affirm nationalism is a
poorly veiled framing of nihilist fundamentalism and plain old bigotry
resurrected reincarnated unashamed for full view his ascendancy to the highest
political office has forced anyone paying attention to assess their own
convictions to face some horrible truths about the state of this world and be
forced in some ways to choose a side James Baldwin when my favorite authors
of all time yes okay also fans he once said we can disagree and still
love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of
my humanity and right to exist it’s unfortunate that sometimes the
light in you brings out the darkness and others and I believe it’s always better
to light a candle than to curse the darkness black aspirations black
intellect black achievement black success has historically been skewed as
black nationalism which is a perceived threat to Eurocentric American values
but the ante has now been wrapped up folks all communities are beginning to
understand these consistent tensions in society we have come to an impasse where
there is very little room for passivity people must choose what they feel is
right or wrong and then take a stand and and honestly that’s what real
democracy is open but hopefully constructive debate about the issues and
trying to figure out ways to change the current state of affairs this
administration that’s galvanized us all to wake up and see reality as they truly
exist as it truly exists let me be clear I’m not a fan nor supporter of the
current federal administration yeah don’t worry about it but I am grateful
that the covers have been pulled off to reveal that this country in the world
needs working healing and that cosmetic surgery to smooth out
the wrinkles but a serious long operation requiring a transplant of
ideals policies and strategies to address the root causes of issues deemed
intractable it is time to dig deeper than thought humanly possible to reshape
this country dr. King had another one my favorite croaks and it was the fierce
urgency of now if if you’ve never known what he meant by that phrase please
recognize where we are in current history we have to act to be purposeful
and be consistent with our efforts very few of us could ever aspire to become an
icon for iconic figure like dr. King but we can commit to being King like if not
a king maybe a prince or a princess a Duke or Duchess but embodying some form
of nobility that honors and emphasizes empathizes for more people than our own
isolated networks and communities I’m simply asking you to love and to give a
damn and when empathy is acquired for your
fellow brothers and sisters then do more to help it’s that simple
no one forgets the first hug human kindness being and filling welcome is
powerful operated in isolation and entreated as alien is one of the most
divisive things we can do to each other the currency of belonging is a
foundational human need so be inclusive and not exclusive it’s this community
base building that leads the social movements that creates a foundation to
address the common links between various societal and environmental problems so
let’s work together to eradicate root causes of injustice rather than merely
providing stopgap solutions that treat only the symptoms thank you very much man like you should have nothing better
on behalf of the Martin Luther King Westside coalition we’d like to present
him with a little gift for his great communication with this group hold it up
high so they can see you we have a couple more government
officials that I admitted earlier and I wanted to welcome Tony and Maria Vasquez good morning my name is Bishop will
estate senior pastor Fernando Community Church our readers Carol Powell
coalition member Beckett Lantry thing Rita del Santa Monica Coalition number
and Hagar hei now you will be able to participate also on the screen with the
liturgy without justice that there can be no peace he passes except evil is as
much involved in it as he who helped people creative power can pull down mountains
of evil and level hilltops of injustice whenever you see injustice take a stand
against it just justice as non-violence exposed the
ugly and racial injustice so much the infection and thickness of poverty be
exposed and healed not only it’s symptoms but it’s basic cause this too
will be a fiery struggle but we must not be afraid to pursue the remedy no matter
how formidable the task may be we have flown the air like birds and
swim the sea like fishes but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the
earth like brothers we will have to repent in this
generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but
for the appalling silence of the good people we must combine the toughness of the
serpent and the softness of the dove a tough mind and a tender heart darkness cannot drive out darkness only
light can do that hate cannot drive it out only love can do that let us pray with the voice of a prophet
did Amos say hate evil but love good maintain justice in the courts pray dear
friends that we would know the evil we must hate the good we must love and the
justice that we must pursue without ceasing with the voice of a prophet did
dr. Martin Luther King jr. say with faith we will be able to go on to carve
a tower of Hope on a mountain of despair and bring into being the great dream the
great right create right here in America a nation where all will live together
and respect the dignity and worth of human personality in a year when our
mountain of despair seems to have grown higher rather than lower pray dear
friends that we will yet carve that tower of Hope on that mountain of
despair pray that like dr. King you and I might be possessed by righteousness
until that day when righteousness reigns supreme and now may the Lord bless and
guard you may the God that we know illumine your path guide your hands and
strengthen your will this day and always in the name of the God that I serve
shall we say Amen together bless you so as is our tradition will please all
stand and we’ll sing we shall overcome I want to remind you that with the
community involvement fair will occur right down the street at the Fairmont as
soon as this program is over we’re going to take a group picture outside there
might be some trolleys for those who don’t want to walk down the street and
we’ll meet you on the other side you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *