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Archive for Monday, January 19, 2009

Lawrence celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Members of the MLK Youth Choir perform the song "Ezekiel Saw the Wheel" Monday at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance at the Kansas Union Ballroom.

Members of the MLK Youth Choir perform the song "Ezekiel Saw the Wheel" Monday at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance at the Kansas Union Ballroom.

January 19, 2009

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Community celebrates King's life and legacy

Lawrence residents gathered to pay tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. Community service played a large part. Enlarge video

On the eve of the inauguration of Barack Obama, the country’s first black president, Lawrence residents Monday celebrated the life of civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

“You just don’t give up. You just keep going one step at a time and keep doing what you can, where you can, for as long as you can with as many people as you can,” said the Rev. Leo Barbee Jr., pastor of Lawrence’s Victory Bible Church.

Kimberly Ventus-Darks, a speaker and author from Cincinnati, focused on unity during her keynote address to about 200 people gathered at the Kansas Union.

“He was African-American, but he loved every race,” Ventus-Darks said during her emotional speech.

King, who was born 80 years ago, balanced several qualities, she said. He was humble, yet he showed strength in his endeavors, she said.

“It’s not over tomorrow. It’s just the beginning,” Ventus-Darks said.

The 2009 King celebration, organized by Ecumenical Fellowship churches, the Lawrence Association of Evangelicals and others, was a joyous celebration, filled with singing.

Several leaders in the Lawrence community said it was surreal to celebrate King’s life the day before Obama takes office.

“It will touch the lives of many and help our nation march ahead in realization of an idea whose time has come,” Lawrence Mayor Mike Dever said of the new president.

“Tomorrow, we will witness a big step forward in Dr. King’s vision,” said James Hilliard, the celebration’s master of ceremonies.

The celebration’s organizers presented community awards to Lawrence public schools Superintendent Randy Weseman and Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway, both of whom will retire from their administrative positions at the end of this academic year.

In addition to praising King’s civil rights achievements, others focused on performing community service projects Monday, such as at the KU campus, at Lawrence Memorial Hospital or the Lawrence Community Shelter, 214 W. 10th St.

“This is a day of service, and this is what we want to do to honor that legacy and make sure that we have people commit to lifelong public service,” said Chelsea Mertz, a KU junior from Topeka, who helped organize a food and clothing drive for Lawrence charities.

Comments

TriSigmaKS 5 years, 11 months ago

Make sure to now go out and do some service!

Sigmund 5 years, 11 months ago

"On the eve of the inauguration of Barack Obama, the country’s first black president, Lawrence residents Monday celebrated the life of civil rights leader Martin Luther King."I doubt seriously that Dr. Martin Luther King would have been that surprised that America elected a black president in 2008. In fact he believed it would have already happened by now. Although flawed, Dr. King was a visionary leader that changed America for the better. Too bad many of his predecessors in the Black Community won't be remembered as kindly.http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/world_news_america/default.stm

spankyandcranky 5 years, 11 months ago

Better Late than never, Sigmond. It still seems like an occassion to celebrate. And I appreciate the community's effort to do so.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 11 months ago

I like to think that Dr. King is looking down on the inauguration and smiling.When Obama won the election my daughter jumped up and shouted, "now there is someone in the White House that is brown like me!" Until then I had not realized the depth of her feelings in this.There is joy in my heart. I know that Obama, and the congress will bring things around.When I was growing up there was a name for a horse that wouldn't pull and then the other did all the work, when they were pulling a wagon. Can't remember it.Can anyone else?

malkasmama 5 years, 11 months ago

It is wonderful to see all the celebrating, however, the day is called Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of SERVICE! and there were at least 7 different service projects going on the eve of, and the day of MLK Day that were put on the back burner of the LJWorld in a major way. Sorry there wasn't more coverage of the huge expansion of service that took place in our community this year. Thank you VOLUNTEERS!!!!!!! Let's keep it up throughout the year!

Confrontation 5 years, 11 months ago

I'm assuming that invictus is referring to the "other that did all the work" as being the liberal. At least you're finally seeing the light, invict.

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