Hundreds remember MLK at Lakeland

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Suffolk News-Herald

Yes, Martin Luther King had a dream. But it takes more than hopes and wishes to get things done, Cynquetta Harris told a jammed Lakeland High School auditorium on Monday afternoon.

&uot;Dreams stay dreams until the dreamer wakes up and acts upon them,&uot; the Lakeland student read from her Martin Luther King essay contest winner during the citywide celebration of his birthday.

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&uot;His life proves that even when dreams seem impossible and everyone is against you, never give up. A good education will get you anywhere, but ignorance will get you nowhere.

&uot;Martin Luther King wanted to spread peace and quality to every nation, and for all nations to walk hand-in-hand as nations of Christ,&uot; Harris said. &uot;Today, because of one man’s dream, little black boys and girls are able to hold hands with little white boys and girls.&uot;

That’s just one aspect of how King’s dreams are still becoming reality, said principal Thomas Whitley in opening the event.

&uot;Today, we envision King’s vision,&uot; Whitley said. &uot;We embrace a dream that transformed a world of hate and strife into a world of acceptance and peace. It is our responsibility to pass the dream on to our children.&uot;

That seemed to be working in the case of Harris and middle school winner Kahlil Daughtry-Holden.

&uot;Martin Luther King taught blacks to deal with racial issues in a nonviolent way,&uot; quoted the John F. Kennedy Middle School student in his transcription. &uot;We as blacks are now able to stand hand in hand with white America and realize our dreams.&uot;

But it wasn’t just America that King touched, city councilman Calvin Jones noted.

&uot;His contributions shaped not only the conscious of our nation, but of the entire world,&uot; Jones said. &uot;As we gather today to acknowledge his significant principals, I would challenge you to channel your admiration into actions that would put us closer to realizing the dream.

&uot;Every day, we have the opportunity to display compassion and respect towards our fellow man. Any random act of kindness, whether it be great or small – spending time with residents in a retirement home, working in a church food pantry – captures the legacy of Dr. King. By making a difference in our schools, in our neighborhoods and in our houses of worship, we are striving toward Dr. King’s goal: to remove the walls of prejudice and intolerance.&uot;

After Kenny Shields and the Tri-City Choral entertained the crowd with renditions of &uot;I Need You To Survive,&uot; and &uot;Nobody But You, Lord,&uot; guest speaker C.V. Russell talked about what people of present and future generations can still learn from King’s words and works.

&uot;When I consider the message that Dr. King gave,&uot; said Russell, who donated his $400 payment for the event back to the King Celebration Committee, &uot;understand that no one changes a man’s heart but God. God changes our heart, but we change our actions, and we can look at these changes and make a difference.

&uot;As long as we are treated equally, it doesn’t matter why,&uot; he said. &uot;We got to stop looking at the heart of a person, because only God knows their heart. I want you to know that we cannot figure out the heart of man. We got to tell young people to put their trust in the Lord.

&uot;One of the messages from Dr. King was that hope is not with who is in the White House, or in the Governor’s house, or who’s on the city council, but who’s sitting on the throne!&uot;