On many fronts, people gathered throughout the City of Toledo from all walks of life and headed in all directions to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on this national holiday, even though it is still neglected by many to set aside this day to honor Dr. King's life, legacy, and contributions to society.
Saturday morning at The Pinnacle in Maumee, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Xi Lambda Chapter, hosted their 26th Annual MLK Scholarship Breakfast in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. The theme of the breakfast was: THE FIERCE URGENCY OF NOW: WE CANNOT WAIT. The keynote Speaker was a graduate of the University of Toledo and BET Host, Jeff Johnson, who is known nationally for his powerful and sometimes provocative position on today's ills and atrocities that particularly AA face.
Sunday evening at 4 PM, many local, diverse clergy gathered at First Presbyterian Church Chapel in Maumee, Oh. joining in to put their faith into action honoring the dream of Dr. King. It was obvious that this group was there to focus on hearing from God as to what he is saying in this next move for and in the Body of Christ. Much of the service was designed to reflect upon personal confession and repentance. Pastor Clint Tolbert, Host and Pastor of First Presbyterian, stated that "while the voices around us look for someone else to blame, we want to heed God's call to look within". Also sharing the role as Host was Pastor Lee Williams of Searchlite Community Church, who assembles each Sunday at the church with his congregation who has been there for four years. The Pastor's, Tolbert and Williams, shared a vision three years ago to host this MLK Commemoration Service. The guest Speaker for the service was Bishop Robert A. Culp of the First Church of God.
A few miles over on Vance Street was the Lo Salem Baptist Church who gathered on Monday morning to commemorate this day, as well as to remember the Founder of the MLK Kitchen For The Poor, also on the grounds, founded by the late Rev. Harvey Savage, Sr. This annual service is held with local speakers who reflect on the dream of two men who were known as Visionaires, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rev. Harvey Savage, Sr. both of whom were born, migrated from the south, and impacted the world. Dr. King was born and reared in Georgia and Rev. Savage from Alabama. This day symbolizes for both of them the commitment to meet a need for the less fortunate, downtrodden, poor, and disenfranchised. Pastor Odis Gordon of the Warren A. M. E. Church was the guest speaker.
While Lo Salem Baptist was praising God, another MLK Unity Celebration event was taking place a few miles down historical Dorr Street at the University of Toledo, hosted by the University of Toledo and the City of Toledo. And yes Historical has been a descriptive of DORR STREET when one speaks of opportunities that were once visibly recognized in the City of Toledo, meaning that several Black owned businesses, at the time they were called, were thriving on Dorr St. However, that picture is a bit obscure today in comparison to years past, in fact some believe that obsolescence set in awhile ago. However, the celebration continued at U T's Savage Arena beginning with a processional of Clergy, Community Leaders, and Organizations who came together to share in the theme for the celebration, "Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat Everywhere: UNIFYING THE COMMUNITY VOICE! Songs of inspiration and words of hope, forward thinking, and continuing to make the DREAM A REALITY was echoed, even in the midst of such perfidious times. A FREE COMMUNITY LUNCHEON was served at the end of the Celebration.
In the midst of racial disparities, disparaging endorsed epigraphs, and the unnerving dishonor of people, it is apparent that each Celebration that took place in the City of Toledo, all had one thing in mind: TO CONTINUE TO SEE THE DREAM COME ALIVE! Hats off to each local group who took the time to say THANK YOU DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. for your unselfish life of service to America; we will never forget you and we know that the Promises of God are sure. As he promised his people in Matthew 5: 44-45...... But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the JUST and on the unjust!