Honoring King’s legacy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Florala youth made up the majority of the participants in the city’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. march, which began at the Carver Community Center on Monday.

Florala youth made up the majority of the participants in the city’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. march, which began at the Carver Community Center on Monday.

More than 100 people hit the streets in Opp Monday morning to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a walk from city hall to MLK Memorial Park on Hardin Street.

Following the walk, local residents, ministers and members of the local NAACP chapter gathered at the park for prayer and to take a few moments to speak about the importance of remembering what King stood for, and the legacy he left behind.

Minister William R. Hines said it is important for people to remember that King’s work was part of God’s plan for America.

“They call (King) a civil rights leader,” Hines said. “What I want you to remember about Dr. King is he was a man of God.”

Hines also reminded the crowd that, while King broke down barriers for African Americans, the fight continues today.

“I’ve had the opportunity to stand at the Washington Monument where Dr. King gave his speech,” Hines said. “It’s a spirit that is still there. The (dream) lives on through us. King wasn’t thinking about himself. He was thinking about the future. It’s not about us. It’s about these children.”

Local pastor Trey Burges said Monday’s holiday is a wonderful time to reflect on the monumental changes King’s work brought about in America.

“If it wasn’t for Dr. King, this would be a much different country today,” Burges said. “What a blessing Dr. King was.”

Robyn Burnett, pastor of St. Stephens AME Church, and John Lawrence, pastor of Piney Grove Baptist Church, each reminded the crowd of the importance of remembering God’s part in the work of King.

“One of the greatest things (King) said was ‘I have a dream,’” Lawrence said. “But it was God that did it all.”

“With God, anything is possible,” Burnett told the crowd. “It takes a lot of hard work, but anything can be done.”

Opp City Councilwoman Mary Brundidge commended the community for a large turnout to Monday’s event.

“This is a dream right here,” Brundidge said.

According to officials leading Monday’s activities, 139 people turned out for the walk, while another 14 drove or rode along the route.

Deacon: Get it in your mind

“Marching with a purpose” was the focus of Florala’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. event Monday, and it was a challenge accepted by more than 50 area residents.

The group gathered at the Carver Community Center, and organizers for the event – Pastor James Stone, Kim Vickers and Sylvia Wallace – agreed they were pleased with the day’s turnout, where the majority of participants were youth.

Stone, who gave the opening remarks, encouraged the children present to adopt King’s philosophy in their everyday life.

“Today should not be about just marching around the city,” Stone said. “Today should be about marching with a purpose, and I want you to think in your mind about marching for your own purpose.

“We all know what (King) did for us, for this community, for this state, for this nation,” Stone said. “It was his dream that we should all live together. Today, we don’t want his dream to turn into someone’s nightmare. So, I would encourage all you young people, think about that. Think about speaking out against bullying. Don’t fall victim to peer pressure. Make sound choices with your mind and your body. Realize your dream.”