By Rick Wolcott*
“Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is not a day off it is a day on. We have amazing work to do and today is a day to switch-on our attitudes about what needs to be done,” the Rev. Dogba R. Bass told those gathered for the Inaugural Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Observance at Aldersgate United Methodist Church (North Coast District) in Warrensville Heights.
“When I remember Dr. King, I think of his great speech – the ‘I have a dream’ – but I also recall the Birmingham demonstrations,“ said Bishop Tracy S. Malone of the East Ohio Conference, who also emphasized the Montgomery bus boycott, the poor people’s march in Washington, D.C., and Dr. King’s standing up for the sanitation workers in Memphis.
“Dr. Martin Luther King was a man of action. He had a dream, but he was a man who acted,” she said.
During the morning celebration, several city and state officials shared the many ways that Dr. King made an impact in their lives, and Lena Nance reminisced about being a part of the 1963 March on Washington, D.C.
“Martin was a beacon for me,” she said. “He was a bridge builder, and everything that happened has shaped my life and I know it will shape yours.”
Speaking about Dr. King’s legacy, Nance said, “Don’t call it a dream, let’s call it a plan for action.”
The program culminated with a standing ovation for Tracy Bass and for fourth-graders Traevon Anderson and Cheri Stoudermire, after they recited Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech.
*Rick Wolcott is director of Communications for the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church.