Florida Keys News
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
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MLK service celebrates faith

The Cornish Memorial AME Zion Church hosted a celebration of faith Monday evening, as the island wrapped up its day-long remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr.

"After what transpired on Pennsylvania Avenue today, who can stand before me and say that their God is not awesome?" the program's emcee Darlene Bennett asked rhetorically.

The veiled reference to the inauguration of President Barack Obama, the nation's first black commander-in-chief who accepted a second term Monday, was not lost on thie crowd of about 80 people inside the church.

They replied with applause and laughter at the historic church, 702 Whitehead St., which drew pastors and religious leaders from across the Lower Keys.

Speakers included Rabbi Shimon Dudai, who reminded the audience that Jewish activists gave their lives during the turbulent years that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which barred major forms of discrimination based on race and sex, including the desegregation of schools.

In Key West, the federal holiday that honors King each year around his Jan. 15 birthday, wasn't eclipsed by the inauguration, but rather amplified.

Under the theme "Dream with a vision, live with a purpose," the 26th annual MLK service was a rousing and reverent affair, sponsored by the MLK Birthday Celebration and Scholarship Committee.

The Rev. Gwendolyn Magby of Trinity Presbyterian Church paid tribute to the slain civil rights leader during her invocation.

"The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life marching, preaching and challenging the Constitution so that all would be treated as equal," Magby said from the pulpit.

Monday's MLK events kicked off with a morning prayer breakfast at the Marriott Beachside Resort, an event that also benefited local scholarships.

"We are our brothers' and our sisters' keepers," said the Rev. Darryl Robinson, of Big Coppitt First Baptist Church, who also helped organize the morning breakfast.

The service followed Monday's annual MLK Day parade, which started at Bahama Village's Nelson English Park and ended at the Cornish AME Zion church.

"We walked up Duval and down Whitehead symbolic in short measure of the long marches Dr. King took," said Randy Becker, of One Island Family. "Let each of us be the end of a long day's march. Let us be in connection with those we trust and love."

gfilosa@keysnews.com

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