- Faith & Family
After a two-year hiatus due to a “lack of sufficient funds,” Liberty City resurrected its Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Candlelight Memorial Service last Wednesday, April 4th, with a brief unity march, speeches and performances by inspiring gospel artists including the Miami-based Sensere and nationally-acclaimed Vickie Winans and James Fortune & FIYA. A peaceful crowd of close to 1,000 citizens assembled at Edison Plaza, MLK Blvd. and NW 8th Avenue for the commemorative service.
Christine King, president and CEO of MLKEDC, the non-profit organization that coordinated the event, said King’s push for justice for Blacks in America remains one of our country’s most needed and unfulfilled goals.
“King said that ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ — and that certainly resonates with the issues we are facing 44 years after his assassination,” she said. “This event not only recognizes the life and work of Dr. King, but also points to MLKEDC’s charge to increase economic opportunities along the MLK corridor. In most U.S. cities, the street that bears his name tends to be in a blighted community overcome with high levels of crime. We need everyone to help us change that here in Miami. In addition, every citizen has a stake in making our streets and our community a safer place to live, work and play. Democracy is not a spectator sport. That means we all must get involved. If change were not possible, we would never have elected a Black man as president of the United States.”
For the first time in the service’s nine-year history, the unity march was dedicated to someone besides Dr. King — Trayvon Martin.
“After the events that recently transpired in Sanford, we thought it was important that we dedicate the march to Trayvon Martin and to invite his parents,” she said. “They are simply seeking justice in the wake of the tragic murder of their son. We support them and seek the same thing.”
Ira Fluitt, Norland Senior High School athletic director, said it is important to work towards fulfilling Dr. King’s dream of the beloved community.
“It is ironic that we are in the year 2012 and yet Blacks still seem to be living in a revised form of slavery,” Fluitt said. “Those that don’t look like us still seem to think it’s okay to do whatever they want to us. King stood for non-violence and that’s the method we must continue to employ in confronting acts of injustice.”
Dana Moss, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Beta Beta Lambda Chapter, said it was fitting that the march paid tribute to Trayvon Martin. [King was also a member of the fraternity].
“The powers that be would like us to believe that the murder of Trayvon had nothing to do with race,” he said. “We know it had everything to do with that young man’s skin color. Whites still feel the need to profile Blacks. It’s a mentality that assumes certain things about people based on their race. America is far from being a country that is colorblind. The work to which King devoted his life still remains unfinished.”
I am convinced that the murder of Trayvon Martin has sparked a movement — a movement that Dr. King began and which we must now complete,” said City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones
By D. Kevin McNeir