Tericka Walker serves some grits to Aaron Verdell, 10, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast at the Trotter Convention Center in Columbus on Monday. The breakfast was sponsored by the local NAACP chapter and the Dream365 organization. Photo by: Micah Green/Dispatch Staff
January 21, 2014 10:17:49 AM
The annual Dream 365 event concluded Monday morning with a breakfast featuring famed pastor Dr. Fredrick Haynes.
From the death of Christ to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Trayvon Martin, Haynes spoke on how a murder can become a movement for change.
The Dallas-based pastor spoke passionately to a packed crowd inside the Trotter Convention Center. He often brought attendees to their feet as he quoted Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, the Bible and rappers Jay-Z and Kayne West.
More than 45 years after Dr. King's death, Haynes said King's "dream has yet to be come a reality."
Speaking of Dr. King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech, he said, "We don't celebrate King because he had a dream. We celebrate King because he changed the public policy of a nation. We celebrate King because King, in his life, forced our nation to look in the mirror at its unjust policies and so now, look at us here. If this auditorium in Columbus, Miss., if this was 60 years ago, we wouldn't have been in this auditorium sitting together but Martin Luther King Jr. pushed the envelope and forced us to change unjust policies. It's not enough just to recite 'I have a dream.' We've got to change policies that are unjust."
He continued, "You've got to take a stand against policies that mitigate against human possibilities...Martin King forced a change in public policy. That's what justice is all about."
Haynes said as part of the legacy of Dr. King, we have a responsibility to "fight for justice."
"Justice is what love looks like in public," he said. "When you show up to fight for justice, it's my group wanting for your group to have the same privileges that my group enjoys. That's when America will know what justice is -- when your group and my group experience the same possibilities and opportunities uninhibited by policies, uninhibited by human personalities in power who try to block blessings. I'm trying to let you know, we have a responsibility to fight for justice."
Haynes said King was once called an "outside agitator" and people today, too, should strive to the same calling.
"Martin Luther King Jr. was referred to by some preachers in Birmingham, Ala., when he went there in 1963 as an 'outside agitator.' Outside agitator. And he came back and he said 'injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' I like that. I just wish I had been around. I would have told Dr. King an agitator is a cool thing. I don't wash clothes often but when I do I wash clothes, I know that my clothes with deep stains don't get the stain out with just detergent. You've got to have some agitation."
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
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