MLK Day message inspires living center residents

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Though she never saw him speak in person, 80-year-old JuanitaDalton remembers hearing Dr. Martin Luther King on the radio andseeing him on television in her younger years.

She also remembers where she was when she heard he’d beenassassinated.

“I was going to the store,” she said thoughtfully Monday as sherecalled the civil rights leader’s death in 1968 in Memphis.

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As Dalton and her peers at Golden Living Center-Brook Manorprepared to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday with aservice in their common area, she reflected on why she thought ofhim as an important leader.

“He was concerned for peace for everyone, and he acted like heloved everyone,” she said.

Behind the efforts of Andrew Spiller, Golden Living Center puttogether a program for seniors that included singing, praying and amessage from the Rev. Patrick Hardy of St. James Missionary BaptistChurch.

“We wanted to let people know that Dr. King wasn’t biased, hewas trying to do it for all races so they could come to a pointwhere they could enjoy life together in a peaceful way,” Spillersaid. “He gave his life that we might have love, joy, peace andharmony.”

And Spiller gave the residents a charge to take with them whenthey left the service.

“I, as an American, challenge you to keep the dream alivethrough your daily actions,” he said.

Seniors of all ages, both white and black, crowded in to hearHardy, a 33-year-old father of three with one on the way, talkabout staying inspired.

“I used to view this day as another day out of school and work,but then I came to understand we have a lot to be thankful for onthis day,” he said. “It’s difficult for me to stand here when Iwasn’t even born before Dr. King was assassinated. I have all theopportunities that Dr. King fought for.”

He told residents that in order to honor King’s legacy, it wasimportant to remember why King was given to the world.

“We have to get back to God, because He led us to where we aretoday,” he said.

And one way to honor the Lord and keep the dream alive, Hardysaid, is to keep your eyes on the horizon.

“You can read about our dark history,” he said. “But whenever Iget the chance, I talk about the goodness of the Lord, and how I’mwaiting on the day when I can see His glorious face.”

Hardy spoke of society today, saying it could cause people tolive in fear, but that looking ahead is the only way to keep aclear vision of what King strove for.

“When all this is going on in the world today, I believe Dr.King would have looked at it and shaken his head and said, ‘This isnot what I fought for,'” he said. “But God told me to tell you tostay inspired.”

And God reminds his people, black and white, that we are toremain faithful to his promises, Hardy told the residents.

“He tells us ‘Hold on to my unchanging hand because I promisedyou something I’m going to deliver on,'” he said. “One day thepleasures of the wicked will end in the fires of Hell, while theproblems of the righteous will end in the glories of Heaven. Justremember our earthly existence is as close to Hell as we’ll everget, and for the wicked, this world is as close to Heaven asthey’ll ever be.”

Hardy wrapped up his talk by reminding the people of GoldenLiving Center how to keep faith, even when the world seems hostileand unfriendly.

“Trust God, do good, and stay inspired,” he said. “If weconsecrate our way, and conquer our wrath, I can promise you whenthat day comes that we can see His face, there will be justice forall.”