Based on our recent association with St. Paul A.M.E. Church, I was invited by Pastor Leslie White to attend the first annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in Berkeley, a gathering of leaders from the faith community, U.C. Berkeley, City of Berkeley and the local business community honoring Dr. King’s memory and legacy. Given that this was the first event of its kind, I didn’t really know what to expect.
When I arrived at the event a few minutes after 7 AM, I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by live Jazz music as performed by the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble. These talented young people could easily be perfor
ming in concert at Yoshi’s based on the incredible music they were making this morning. What a treat!
Later in the program, we heard from the Berkeley High School Choral Group in a rousing rendition of “Oh Freedom”, another highlight of the morning.
The program was comprised of a variety of speakers, all whom had a compelling message to convey. The three speakers who touched me the most were Rabbi Menacham Creditor who spoke eloquently of how Dr. King would speak about the problems of today had he lived; St John Dixon who spoke about his active participation with Dr. King in the civil rights movement in Alabama and Frank Barnes who was head of pilot training at Tuskegee University during WWII and then later the held the position of President of the NAACP in Berkeley for 27 years.
It was an inspiring way to celebrate the legacy of an inspiring leader. I left with a feeling of hope that the dream is still very much alive. We just need to keep pushing forward, united as a community, to find our way to the mountain top.