Article by Peggy Roberson
In honor of Martin Luther King Day, the Marlin branch of the NAACP in a collaborative effort with the City of Marlin hosted a program at Marlin’s King Street Park January 20, at 2:00 p.m.. The event attended by members of the community, city leaders, and others honored the famed Civil Rights Leader for his efforts towards justice and equality. Approximately 60 people of various age groups were in attendance.
The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebrated on January 20th, marked the 25th anniversary of the day of service that celebrates Dr. King’s life and legacy. January 15, 2020, would have been the 91st birthday of the Civil rights Leader.
Opening the program was Marlin NAACP President/Mayor Pro-Tem Scottie Henderson. Henderson yielded the floor to Councilwoman Nettie Lang who prayed a prayer of unity, togetherness, justice and change, for the city of Marlin. The Negro National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was led by Henderson and accompanied by those present. Following the National Anthem was a welcome given by NAACP Vice President and MISD School Board President Billy Johnson.
After stating a quote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” attributed to Dr. King, Henderson introduced Dr. Lawrence McCall Chief of Police for the City of Marlin
Chief McCall cited today as special to him because his Fraternity Brother (Alpha Phi Alpha) Dr. King paved the way for him to be where he is today. McCall shared the “I Have a Dream” speech by Dr. King changed the landscape of America. He further added that he too has a dream that Marlin will rise up together.
Continuing to honor Dr. King, McCall reminded those present that Dr. King said, “I’ve been to the mountaintop.” McCall added, that since he’s been in Marlin, he too has seen the promise this land has to offer. The dreams and promises are in the distance, but I see the victory. McCall concluded his speech by stating “what I say today, I hope will contribute to the change. Thank you for your time, but the pleasure is all mine.”
Following McCall was Justin Parker, Fire Chief for the City of Marlin. Parker in a brief remark stated, “Marlin is home for us and we are a family.” Parker added, “we’ve gone through rough times, but we made it.”
In his remarks, City Manager Cedric Davis shared his Mountaintop Dream, a spoken word piece that Davis wrote and was nominated for a 2009 Grammy Award only bested by Former President of the United States Barrack Obama. Davis admitted the challenges we face are real, but the time has come to reaffirm the dreams of those that have shed their blood. Davis paused to remember John Lewis, who he described as his mentor. He said Lewis told him, “young man, I need you to get in “good trouble,” standing up for our communities that have been tossed aside.” He added he wants everyone in Marlin to get in “good trouble” together to help build bridges and foundations.
Mayor Carolyn Lofton used her time at the podium to share what God has told her. She stated that God knew what he wanted and what positions he wanted people in. Lofton reminded us that we are in a spiritual battle. Using the 76661 zip code, Lofton took out the 666 and reminded those present that 7 is the beginning (Alpha) and 1 is the end (Omega) The three 6X’s in the middle represent hell but we are surrounded by God, who is the Alpha & Omega.
Mayor Lofton further stated, “We have an opportunity to put some things in place so we can continue to have schools.” She said God has shown her the vision of something better. “We will go through some things, but we will come out victorious”, Lofton added. Lofton concluded by asking that we pray for our city and for Marlin ISD and stated that “God sometimes takes things away from us to put something better in place.”
Closing the program was a prayer by Pastor Durrell Ward of Bethany Baptist Church. Before his prayer, Reverend Ward shared “God has something special for everyone of us.” We need to let our lights shine so that we can glorify God who is in heaven.