Troy commemorates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


By Sam Wildow

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TROY — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s vision of “the Beloved Community” was the focus of Monday’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Day, hosted by the MLK Planning Team at First United Church of Christ in Troy.

The term “beloved community” was first coined by philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce and then popularized by King. King once declared, “The end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opponents into friends … It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men.”

Rev. Kima Cunningham, pastor at Richards Chapel United Methodist Church, provided the keynote speech, highlighting how they were there on Monday both to honor King and the Civil Rights Movement, as well as to continue to work together toward that beloved community.

“It’s not about a dream, it’s about a vision,” Cunningham said. She went on to say that the attendees weren’t there just to listen to a speech, but they were also there “to get an assignment.”

Cunningham referenced feelings of exhaustion, sadness, and sickness, but went on to say that a community can create a “real impact.”

“We have to do it together,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham also referenced themes of political oppression in the Bible’s New Testament, as well as references of seeking justice in the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament, connecting faith and Christian churches with ongoing movements for justice.

“We have to be open to what God is showing us,” Cunningham said. She ended her speech by discussing her vision of the beloved community and encouraging community members to get involved in the MLK Planning Team, saying, “The work belongs to us … I see us doing it together.”

Following Cunningham’s speech, the MLK Planning Team recognized Maurice Sadler, principal of the Heywood Elementary School, with the Pastor Wesley McCoy, Sr. Community Service Award. Sadler said he was shocked to receive the award. He then recognized the women in his life, including various teachers, his mother, and his wife, with helping him succeed throughout his life.

“This award is her award,” Sadler said about his wife, Janine Sadler. Sadler also recognized their children, saying, “My children are products of the Troy City Schools system, and they are humble, talented, (and) gifted.”

Local student Lola Gosser also spoke during Monday’s event, saying she was inspired by a past Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Day event and her eyes were “opened to the power and people in this room.” Gosser spoke about unity, saying, “Community is togetherness.”

Monday’s event also featured a musical performance from Craig “Christ Jr.” Wallace of Dayton, as well as a speech from Bill Lutz, president of the Troy City Council.

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