‘Keeping the dream alive’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 11, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

This year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day program will be held a 11 a.m., Monday, Jan. 20 at Lakeland High School. The 2003 celebration theme is &uot;Today’s Challenges in Keeping Dr. Martin Luther King’s Jr. Dream Alive.&uot;

The purpose of the program is to recognize and honor an individual who gave his life for the rights of all people and to educate younger generations who didn’t live in his era about his fight for their civil and equal rights.


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Charles O. Christian, president of the NAACP and member of the MLK Celebration Committee, said that Dr. King will always be seen as being instrumental in racial equality and civil rights, and he is &uot;grateful that we are able to continue this program which recognizes the significance of this great man.&uot;

Vanessa Savage, the secretary of the Suffolk Branch of the NAACP, serves as chairman of the MLK Committee. She said that she is hoping that many young people will attend the program.

&uot;The Rev. Wendell Waller, attorney with the Suffolk City School Board and pastor of Christian Home Baptist Church in Windsor, will be the guest speaker and we feel that they will really enjoy him,&uot; she said.

The program will also feature first place middle school and first place high school essay winners reading their entries in the MLK Essay contest. Students in middle and high schools were given the opportunity to write on the theme and first, second, and third Place winners were picked by teachers at their particular schools. First place winners will receive U.S. Savings Bonds and awards will also be presented in other areas.

The guest musical group will be Second Chance under the direction of Earlene Lee. The Rev. Sylvester Silver, pastor of Gates of Heaven Church of God in Christ, will preside during the program.

According to Dr. Mark Croston, pastor of East End Baptist Church and MLK program coordinator, Local 26 has been sponsoring this program for many years. Around 1989 the city had a campaign going on to raise money for uniforms for a new high school sporting team and somehow when that effort ended, the people came together on celebration day and took up a collection for that uniform drive. From that beginning, the MLK Committee and Local 26 continued the celebration.

&uot;I think that this program is a good one to have in these days of uncertainty with questions about the war with Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, the economy and general fairness issues that arise in society,&uot; said Croston. &uot;It is a great time to reflect on the ideas of Dr. King because he was a promoter of peace and prosperity hand in hand together for us all. So this will also be a great time to get our minds off the negative aspects of life and to focus ourselves on a positive future.&uot;