Citizens hail life of MLK

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 20, 2004

A crowd of more than 100 people gathered at Ohio University Southern Monday to celebrate the life and a legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, a legacy that touches lives everyday.

Lawrence County's 14th annual MLK Day Holiday Celebration featured song, dance, prayer and reflection in the event that focused on King's words asking "What are you doing for others?"

"As we celebrate the life spirit of Dr. King, let us remember that we can extend and enrich Dr. King's legacy by rededicating ourselves to the principles of freedom, equality, spiritual growth and to cherish the lives of our children," said Robert Pleasant Jr., who worked to continue the annual celebration that was formerly sponsored by the now-dissolved Operation Be Proud organization.

Email newsletter signup

"Let this day be a day of motion set toward the dream that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. imagined for the land we call America and the entire world community."

Carrie Cline-Black, news anchor for WSAZ Television 3, spoke to the enthusiastic crowd with the hopes to "educate, inspire and motivate." She emphasized that Dr. King was an ordinary man who, through his decisions and choices, was able to help change the entire nation.

As far as Cline-Black is concerned, everyone is capable of doing their part if they spend just some of their 16 waking hours per day in helping others.

"This gives you 112 hours a week, 6,000 hours a year to do something that matters, to make your home, your neighborhood, your community, your state and our world, a better place," she said.

Mayor John Elam also spoke of the importance of making a conscious choice to stand up and fight for change, just as King did in his famous speech more than 40 years ago.

"I believe Dr. King would have been proud of the efforts put forth here today," Elam said. "As you can see, 40 years later we still have a dream."

Ironton resident Mary Keith agreed that everyone must remember the values of faith, love and equality that Dr. King strived for.

"It is very important, I feel, to keep this event alive in the community to remind people of the sacrifices made for us. I am not just speaking of blacks alone, but everybody," Keith said. "It does not matter the color of the skin."

Twelve-year-old Chris Young could not have agreed more.

"I was telling my brother today that if it wasn't for Dr. King that I wouldn't be (who I am) today because I have both white and black as a part of me," the soft-spoken Ironton Middle School student said.

Bonnie Holmes of Quinn Chapel AME Church may have captured the essence of the evening and the holiday with her prayer.

"Let us leave here this evening, dear God, with the inspiration that he left for us," she said. "ŠHelp us realize that we can reach the mountaintop where everyone cares about one another and are not judged on the color of our skin, but on our character."