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MLK Day speakers stress education as source of hope

Monday, January 16, 2012

(Photo)
Evangelist Evelyn Elmore of Higginsville tells a story about helping her granddaughter learn to sew during the Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast Monday, Jan. 16. The event was sponsored by the Mar-Saline Branch of the NAACP and hosted by First United Methodist Church.
(Eric Crump/Democrat-News) [Order this photo]
Education was a main theme at the 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast sponsored by the Mar-Saline Branch of the NAACP.

Featured speaker Evelyn Elmore began and ended her presentation with songs praising Jesus. Between songs, her emphasis was following King's example by taking time to teach young people.

"(King) gave us hope, and he gave us a future," she said. "He took time out to teach and to preach to others. We got to take the time."

(Photo)
From left, Chayla and Charlique lead the Powerhouse Praise Dancers, directed by Ledawn Stephenson, as they perform during the Martin Luther King Jr. Payer Breakfast Monday, Jan. 16.
(Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
Taking the time to help young people, to teach them, is a way of keeping King's legacy alive and doing for future generations what King did for his, according to Elmore.

"If you've been helped, you've got to help someone else," she said.

She told several stories about how she helped her grandchildren learn new skills, like sewing and cooking, by cleverly appealing to them for aid. And while they thought they were helping grandma, grandma was helping them learn.

"Martin Luther King had a plan and he spoke life," she said. "He had a dream. He spoke it, and this is why we're here today. We need to tell our kids to have faith."

The Rev. Mary Williams, emcee for the event, praised Elmore for her faith and passion.

The event began with a video presentation featuring the words and music to "Lift Every Voice and Sing" accompanied by images of American black leaders and scenes from civil rights struggles.

(Photo)
The Rev. Mary Williams says the benediction to close the 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast at First United Methodist Church. Williams served as emcee of the event.
(Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
Community religious leaders then offered a series of prayers: Lorel Box for peace and community, Fr. Kevin Gormley for community and school, Lois Lasseter for family and forgiveness and Angie Washington for healing.

Raymond Banks, president of Missouri Valley College Black Student Union, read an essay he wrote last year for Black History Month.

"We helped build America," he said. "This is our legacy. We celebrate Black History Month to remind us all of the greatness we possess.

"If we neglect to remember the pillars of black history, we forget who we are."

The Powerhouse Praise Dancers, directed by Ledawn Stephenson, performed before Elmore spoke.

(Photo)
Raymond Banks, president of the Missouri Valley College Black Student Union, reads an essay he wrote for Black History Month last year. Banks emphasized the contributions blacks have made to the country and urged everyone to be proud of that legacy.
(Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
Two state senators in the audience were also given a chance to make a few remarks.

Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, underscored Elmore's message about education, and he gave a nod to Banks.

"This young man here is an example of what can be," he said.

But he noted that black men are still disproportionally affected by crime and worried about the lives and talent that are being wasted. He said lack of hope is at the root of the problem.

"We have failed these young people," he said. "We've got to instill the value of education in our young folks. That's the key to the dream."

Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, also spoke and continued the theme of education. Pearce chairs the Missouri Senate Education Committee. He noted the difficulty of crafting education policy that serves everyone well.

"As elected officials, we need your prayers," he said. "We need your help and support."

Following remarks by the senators, Arron Haynes announced the NAACP voter registration drive, and Williams urged members of the audience to join the organization.

Following Williams' benediction, local Civil Air Patrol cadets retired the colors, concluding the event.

Contact Eric Crump at ecrump@marshallnews.com

Online:
http://www.naacpmarshallmo.org/
http://youtu.be/MyS3HPInHtI


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Way to go MarSaline Branch of the NAACP!

-- Posted by mama11 on Mon, Jan 16, 2012, at 6:11 PM


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