Belfast rally, vigil commemorates 50th anniversary of 'I Have a Dream' speech
Belfast — To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech, more than 100 people gathered at the First Church in Belfast for a rally and candlelight vigil Wednesday, Aug. 28.
The event kicked off at 6:30 p.m. on the lawn of the church with Rev. Joel Krueger welcoming attendees to the rally and vigil. Krueger spoke of the significance of the gathering that occurred in Washington 50 years ago.
“They came with hearts ready to be kindled,” Krueger said of the gathering in Washington, D.C. in 1963.
Krueger continued by saying that progress has been made towards addressing civil rights issues, but more change is needed even today.
After his remarks, a selection of songs were performed by Steve Lewicki, Dana and Judy Williams, Marty Kelley and Mehuman Jonson.
After the musical performances, former Dayton [Ohio] Journal Herald reporter Denise Goodman, Rev. Dr. Arlin Larson, a retired congregational minister, Linda Buckmaster of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast, Larry Dansinger of the Peace and Justice Group of Waldo County and Margaret Micolichek, the executive director of the Restorative Justice Project of the midcoast, spoke to attendees.
Goodman, who covered King's speech in Washington, talked about being in Mississippi and how people who were opposed to segregation would warn her to flush her notes down the toilet or to rent a car in Tennessee because Mississippi plates were too recognizable and reporters were not well liked during that time.
During King's speech, Goodman said it was difficult to not be caught up in the emotions of the historic event as the people around her listened to the address on transistor radios.
“This historic gathering assured people of color they were not alone in their fight for justice,” Goodman said.
The speakers were interspersed with song performances by Kathy Warner and Concepta Jones.
Dansinger focused his comments on the dreams he has for the creation of an economy that provides for everyone without giving too much to someone in particular. He said the country's economic issues are not due to a lack of resources, but rather to unequal distribution of the resources.
He also said he dreams of people rising up around the world and reclaiming a safe environment.
At the end of his comments, Dansinger asked those in the audience a single questions: “What's your idea or dream tonight on this momentous anniversary?”
Following the speakers, Rev. Dr. Duncan Newcomer introduced the reading King's “I Have a Dream” speech by J. Michael Lawson, Miles Martin, PJ Stewart, Malcolm Jones and Malik Feurtado, followed by a performance by the community chorus. The evening's event concluded with a candlelight vigil and and a request to participants to reach out to someone they didn't know and introduce themselves.
Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.
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