Hundreds in New Smyrna Beach celebrate MLK holiday
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Photos by Angela Carter / Children sing during ceremonies Monday in New Smyrna Beach in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Thunder and lightning did not put a damper on festivities celebrating the national bithday holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The annual march through the city from the Westside to Old Fort Park was accomplished despite light rainfall, but when it turned into thunder and lightning, Pastor Sara Lund offered to move the celebration from the park to her United Church of Christ, large enough to provide seating for several hundred people participating in the march and those who went directly to the park.
Pastor Pete Carter takes to the podium during the MLK celebration.
Pastor Pete Carter was especially grateful to Lund for the gesture and the message of keynote speaker, Pastor Heyward Evans of the Refuge Church of our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, who "encouraged all to do their part in fulfilling the dream by working together and doing their best."
Carter was also moved by a speech delivered by Mayor Adam Barringer, describing them as "encouraging words.
Photo by Angela Carter / Mayor Adam Barringer addresses the audience as shown at left.
The following is a copy of Barringer's MLK Day speech:Today is Martin Luther King Day in the United States. On this day we celebrate the life and work of one of the greatest leaders in history. On behalf of our great city I want to welcome everyone as we celebrate on this day. If you remember just one thing as you leave here today, remember that Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the greatest leaders in history.
As a scholar of leadership, I want to take a few minutes and reflect on what is commonly referred to as his “I Have a Dream” speech. This speech is historically known for great rhetoric, but it provides powerful lessons on leadership. There are six that I have identified:
1.) Great leaders do not sugar-coat reality. This speech came at a critical point in the civil rights movement. Dr. King did not pull any punches. He faced the most brutal facts of his time.
2.) Great leaders inspire. While logic may compel the mind, stories and metaphors move the heart. This is the difference between offering information and inspiration.
3.) Great leaders create a sense of urgency. Great leaders are impatient—in a good way. They refuse to just sit by and let things take their natural course. They have a sense of urgency and communicate it. Dr. King says
" We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment."
4.) Great leaders call people to act in accord with their highest values. It would be easy for the civil rights movement to change tactics and resort to violence. Some did. However, Dr. King called his people to a higher standard. He says in his speech:
"But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must ever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force".
5.) Great leaders refuse to settle. It would have been easy for Dr. King to negotiate a compromise, to settle for less than his vision demanded. But he was stubborn—in a good sense. He persisted, and called his followers to persevere.
No, no, we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream
6.) Great leaders paint a vivid picture of a better tomorrow. Leaders can never, never, never grow weary of articulating their vision. They must be clear and concrete. They have to help their followers see what they see.
"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!"
"I have a Dream Speech" is full of leadership lessons, and On this day we celebrate the life and work of one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known. On behalf of our great city I want to welcome everyone as we celebrate on this day.
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