By LINDA M. LINONIS
Two speakers reflected on the theme “Remembering the Dreamer; Realizing the Dream,” during the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial service Friday in the rotunda of Mahoning County Courthouse, 120 Market St.
The Baptists Pastors’ Council of Youngstown and Vicinity sponsored the event attended by about 20 people to mark the anniversary of King’s death.
Keynote speaker was the Rev. William C. King Jr., pastor of Price Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. “Today is bittersweet. ... It reminds us of Dr. King’s death, but we remember his legacy.”
He cited the Scripture passage from Galatians 6:9-10, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
The Rev. Mr. King urged supporters of MLK’s legacy to “be an encouragement and example.” The speaker asked believers “not to become weary of doing good.”
He urged people to be “like the Good Samaritan.” “Doing good is taking a stand,” Mr. King said.
Though forces try to oppress minorities, he said, it is up to those who believe in right to “be creative forces to pull down evil.”
The speaker quoted the civil-rights leader, who said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
It’s our duty to protest injustice, Mr. King said, adding it is everyone’s duty to work for social justice, freedom and human dignity. “It’s spiritual warfare,” he said. “It’s not a skin problem but a sin problem.”
The speaker also recalled MLK’s “I Have a Dream Speech” from the March on Washington, D.C., in 1963. “Let truth transform our lives," he said.
Jaladah Aslam, staff representative of Ohio Council 8 American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, spoke on what brought the civil-rights leader to Memphis, Tenn., in April 1968. King was there to lend support and bring attention to the plight of black sanitary public-works employees represented by AFSCME Local 1733.
Aslam said the strike had dragged on. “The strike was a symbol of much more,” Aslam said. “It was about economic equality, safe working conditions and dignity in the workplace.”
In Memphis, the civil- rights leader was killed by an assassin’s bullet April 4, 1968. The strike ended April 16 when an agreement was worked out after President Lyndon Johnson sent the undersecretary of labor there.
“The labor movement and civil-rights movements are similar. The weapon is the vote,” Aslam said. “The labor movement turned misery and despair into hope and progress.”
The Rev. Ernest Ellis, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church, conducted the program. The Rev. Kenneth Simon, pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church, sang a medley of songs including “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory.”