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MLK Service at RCC pays tribute to ‘remarkable man’

January 15th will mark what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King’s 94th birthday. To commemorate his life and legacy, Robeson Community College held a special tribute to honor the remarkable man and the dream he had for all people.

“Today marks a special occasion where we reflect on the profound impact Dr. King had on our nation and the continuing importance of his vision for equality, justice, and unity,” RCC President Melissa proclaimed as she welcomed guests to the event. “As we gather for the Martin Luther King Day program, let us remember the principles of love, compassion, and understanding that Dr. King advocated for throughout his life.”

Providing the invocation for the event was Donté McDowell, an English instructor at RCC.

“We have power in how we show up and how we serve,” McDowell said. “Light and love can change the full dynamics of relationships, of community and the nation… help us stay committed to the task, to the cause.”

Attending the event was North Carolina Senator Danny E. Britt, Jr. He spoke to the audience, giving a few remarks to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King.

“Whenever I think of Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, I think about the progress we have made in Robeson County,” Senator Britt stated. “We have had many successes in our diverse population.”

“An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Britt continued, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King. “Injustice, my friends, is a gross force that erodes the foundations of a just society.”

“When we turn a blind eye to the suffering of our fellow human beings, we become accomplices and a threat to justice,” Britt said. “We cannot afford the luxury of indifference, for injustice unchecked and unchallenged becomes a moving force that threatens the very fabric of justice.”

“The true measure of our commitment to justice is to stand up to injustice wherever it occurs, for in the words of the great Mahatma Gandhi, you must be the change you want to see in the world,” Britt said.

During the service, a presentation was shown “If I had sneezed” revealing how close Dr. Martin Luther King had come to dying after being stabbed, but it only motivated him to continue on with his mission of fighting for civil rights for all people.

“This is a magnificent day in which we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his life, his legacy, as well as his outstanding leadership,” stated Dr. Johnny Smith, the vice president of instruction and student services as he introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Stephen Love, who delivered a very powerful speech on the Audacity of Service: Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.

“If we never forget where we came from, we will always appreciate where we are,” Love said. “If you understand where we are, we have the faith and the hope to see where we are going.”

Love said he hoped that today’s event would act as a foundation and the beginning for unity, empathy, true grace, and reconciliation that will cross every land, every tribe, and even every generation.

“The audacity to dream, the audacity to speak,” said Love. “When I researched what this word audacity means, I found that it was described and defined as one who was moved to take bold and courageous risks, and what better example of courage than what we see in Martin Luther King, he was one who had the audacity to dream.”

“He was one who had the audacity to dream, to speak of the day, where men and women regardless of the color of their skin would have the undeniable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Love continued. “He was one who had the audacity to speak of a day where we would live in harmony.”

“In spite of our differences in race and socioeconomic status, the reality is that we are here because of this mighty man,” said Love. “He had the audacity to dream, he had the audacity to see light in a world of darkness… and even here today, his spoken words are still charging and changing lives today.”

During his speech, Love asked members of the audience to join in holding hands, as a show of unity, love, and faith.

“I want to acknowledge the fact that we have come a long way, the reality is that we got this far by faith,” Love said. “Can you imagine what tomorrow will look like when we join our faith together? Can you imagine what tomorrow will look like when stand hand in hand and stand together on one accord?

“Now is the time that we are taking a stand for what is right in the sight of the Lord,” Love said. “We shall overcome.”

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