MLK Jr. Celebration

Culpeper Branch NAACP Vice President Uzziah Harris speaks during Monday’s service at Antioch Baptist Church.

Sunday afternoon was all about celebrating the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Little Zion Baptist Church.

The church served as the location for this year’s “Remember! Celebrate! Act!” celebration presented by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance Committee. The event is now in its 35th year and featured pastor Damaro Robinson of Bright Hope Baptist Church of Louisa as the keynote speaker.

The annual celebration honoring the slain civil rights leader alternates between the Little Zion Baptist Church in Orange and Antioch Baptist Church in Madison. The observance committee is made up of representatives from area churches in Madison, Orange and Louisa. Churches from all three counties were represented and included at Sunday’s celebration including Pilgrim Baptist Church of Locust Grove, Chestnut Grove Baptist Church and Emmanuel Baptist Church of Orange, Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church and Antioch Baptist Church from Madison County and Bright Hope Baptist Church and Union Baptist Church from Louisa.

More than 70 people attended the celebration which included scripture readings and music performed by the Spirit of Truth Community Choir as well as the keynote speaker and a special presentation.

Keynote speaker Robinson spoke to the crowd about the moral famine our nation is experiencing and emphasized the need for people to be engaged in their communities. Robinson encouraged people to embrace kindness and to use the economic advantages that the United States offers to help the less fortunate. He believes that the hyper polarized and divided politics of today are a trial sent to push us to become a better society.

“We are experiencing a moral famine,” said Robinson. “We are here in the land of opportunity with so much but so many others here also have nothing. When you get good jobs based upon what you can do and what you know rather than who you know or how you look.”

He also cautioned against responding to bad behavior with the same and instead urged focusing on decency.

“The world needs more love,” he said.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Committee traditionally honors a community member and presents a local non-profit with a $500 award during the event. This year, the Reverend John Reid was presented with the honor for his work in the church and the Orange community. Reid has been a member of the Orange County School Board, a volunteer for youth programs and president of the Orange County NAACP. The committee also honored two young men from the community; Jamori Harris and Myles Johnson. Both teens were honored for their great commitment to the community, church and school and were each presented with a scholarship for $250. The committee made the decision to present the two scholarships instead of a donation to a local charity this year.

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