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Boro celebrates King's dream

Parade, service emphasize unity, vision

Boro celebrates King's dream

Boro celebrates King's dream

David King, right, and Ryan McBride m...

Unity and taking charge of change were part of the message at a community service Monday following Statesboro’s annual parade celebrating the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
    People lined North and West Main Streets Monday afternoon as the parade made its way along those streets, turning onto Martin Luther King Jr. Drive before ending at Louetta Moore Park.
    The traditional marching bands and dignitaries in gleaming vehicles were joined by local church groups, child care centers and businesses, with people riding in decorated cars or waving from floats.
    Some floats and cars displayed King’s image and messages of peace and unity. Drivers chugged along behind the wheels of classic trucks and cars, and children along the streets danced to music as parade entries passed.
    After the parade was over, many parade-goers flocked to Tabernacle Baptist Church on Bulloch Street, where the sanctuary was filled with people eager to hear keynote speaker, Jonathan McCollar.
    Cynthia Canty, the mistress of ceremony, encouraged enthusiasm McCollar spoke, giving recognition to parade grand marshal Elizabeth Johnson and sharing words of vision in between musical selections by the New Vision Mass Choir. She reminded visitors “This is not a day off; It is a day on,” adding that progress takes community involvement.
    “I am honored to come today and give a message God put on my heart,” McCollar said.
    He spoke of dual excitement in celebrating King’s holiday as well as the second inauguration of Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president.
    McCollar told listeners it’s time to embrace the future instead of living in the past.
    “I think too often we are trapped in yesteryear” and don’t focus instead on the “notable large leaps for our country” people like King have made, he said.
    Regardless of man’s intention, it is God whose plan is laid, McCollar said. Quoting King, McCollar said, “The arc of the universe is long, but it bends to … justice.”
    Calling King a “martyr for the soul of a nation,” McCollar said: “When God sparked the flame that would be Dr. King’s life, He knew that flame would soon be burned out. Why was he taken so soon… and in such a  way? Now, 45 years later, we ask, who else could it have been?”
    He spoke of King’s message and legacy left behind.
    “He was a man who died in service to a people … to a nation … to a God,” McCollar said.
    Monday’s festivities remembering King were “not so much a memorial but a celebration” of the man’s life and his vision, McCollar said.
    It’s up to people today to continue King’s dream, McCollar said.
    He urged people to “shatter every glass ceiling, knock down every closed door” to end division, politically, racially and in every way. To those who maintain political and other divisions, defying unity, he declared: “We must say no! We won’t go for your smoke and mirrors.”
    As he spoke, McCollar generated support and enthusiasm from those in the audience as some called out “amen” and cheered him on during his speech.
    “Now is the time to put people over politics,” he said, recalling the slogan he used during his campaign last year for a City Council seat. “We need to be clear in our effort to move this nation forward. … Change will not happen overnight. We must be able to replace the pain of past failures with the hope of tomorrows. We must remove the cataracts of old eyes and embrace the new visions. We are the nation that reflects God’s genius of diversity.”
    The community program was sponsored by the Bulloch County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

    Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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