COLUMBIA — Speakers at a Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration at Second Missionary Baptist Church on Monday called on the community to act.
The Rev. Starsky Wilson asked the audience, “The question today is not what King did yesterday, but will we follow through and make ourselves useful?”
Sponsored by the Columbia branch of the NAACP, a ceremony was held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at Battle Garden. Participants then formed a motorcade and went to Second Missionary Baptist Church where they heard speakers including the Rev. Starsky Wilson, President of the Columbia branch of the NAACP, Mary Ratliff and the Rev. Clyde Ruffin of the Second Missionary Baptist Church.
“We’re standing on the shoulders of many giants and we can’t forget that,” Ratliff said.
Wilson, president of the Eden Seminary NAACP in St. Louis, said that addressing issues of inequality is King’s greatest legacy. He called on the audience to act and brought up the amount of money the federal government is spending on the war in Iraq.
“When we place resources on war, we take them away from the needy,” he said.
The celebration allowed community members to take a moment to remember King and his cause, but participant Donald Hill pointed out as the ceremony finished, “The most important message is being able to help someone else.”