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Pastor Bill Corley at Crossroads Community Church / Laura Austin Photo

Local Churches unite, celebrate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

By LAURA QUEZADA News Review  Staff Writer–

The community is invited to attend the Annual Community Remembrance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King on Monday, January 15, from 11 am to 12 noon at Crossroads Community Church, 235 N. China Lake Blvd. The theme is Seeking to Live in the Reality of “The Dream.”

Victory Baptist Church, New Beginnings Baptist Fellowship, and Crossroads Community Church joined together to bring this celebration, which will include Martin Luther King’s favorite songs performed by worship teams from Victory Baptist and New Beginnings. Refreshments will follow.

Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.

 

I have a dream that my four little children

will one day live in a nation

where they will not be judged

by the color of their skin but by their character.

–Martin Luther King Jr.

 

 

This is the first Martin Luther King celebration since the pandemic. One could say that this event is back by popular demand. Eddie Edwards says, “A lot of people have been asking, ‘When are we going to have a program?’” They ask Edwards because she has been the force behind the celebrations for many years, starting in the 1990s when she volunteered on Base with Special Emphasis Programs – Black Employment Program and organized Martin Luther King Day celebrations held in the All Faith Chapel.

From the first programs she organized on Base, she kept bringing the community together in mind. “The Lord led me to be consistent with the cross-section of the community. I contacted different pastors and lay leaders and even had a doctor and the chief of police participate.”

In 2003, Edwards was inspired to make this a community event in Ridgecrest. She received approval from her church and again reached out to area churches. Over the years, many have participated. Participation includes presenting during the program, which makes for a wonderful gathering.

Honoring Dr. King through community is important to Edwards. She says, “It represents the community because change isn’t just about a person of color. It is all about the community of all people. We want to make sure that it encompasses what he sees as what his dream was yesterday; it is also today’s vision, and it’s going to be part of our reality tomorrow.  He wanted to shift the culture to change to the study (of his philosophy, which is) love, power, and non-violence. That is the essential message of his ministry, and his social justice advocacy was his belief in the transformative power of faith, hope, and love to the rest of society.”

Edward does not want accolades for her efforts, she prefers to stay in the background. She credits  Bill Corley, Pastor of Crossroads for making sure this celebration takes place. Corley credits Edwards.

Corley says that the messages from Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech are as relevant today as they were in 1963.  He believes there are still divisions in our country: political, racial, economic, educational, and spiritual. Corley says there are laws in place for equality. “There isn’t equality in the full sense of the word. There’s opportunity. But there are still the lingering effects of slavery and segregation, and these things were very real when he gave the speech. Their legal aspects have been dealt with. But not the personal relationships with prejudice and bias and, quite honestly, that opened many disadvantages to people of color.”

The National Civil Rights Museum website says of Martin Luther King’s Legacy, “Dr. King understood the impact of unifying the masses in the push for one common goal. Separately, attaining any significant progress would be a challenge. Collectively, he and other civil rights activists could affect policies and influence change nationwide. Dr. King’s leadership contributed to the overall success of the civil rights movement in the mid-1900s and continues to impact civil rights movements in the present.”

Submitted by Eddie Edwards–

Few people have had as enormous an impact on life and society as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A Baptist minister inspired by other advocates of nonviolence, King encouraged oppressed and socially disadvantaged African Americans to fight for equality through peaceful protest. Before being assassinated in April 1968, King helped to end legal segregation and was a key driving force behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Dr King’s life was one of hardship and struggle but also one of hope and solidarity. The bonds he built and the strides he helped make changed America and sent shockwaves around the world.

When Martin Luther King Jr received a Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence, he was just 35 years old – the youngest man at the time to receive the award. His prize included a check for $54,123, which he donated to various organizations – Congress on Racial Equality (CORE), the NAACP, National Council of Negro Women, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and others – to aid in the progress of the civil rights movement.

From 1957 to 1968, King traveled over 6 million miles and spoke over 2,500 times.

The civil rights leader was arrested 29 times and assaulted four times.

In 1986, a law was passed that made the third Monday in January a federal holiday commemorating Dr. King’s birth and accomplishments.

King was awarded 20 honorary degrees and was named the 1963 ‘Man of the Year’ by Time magazine.