By Loribeth Reynolds

It was dreary and cold outside on Jan. 17, but nothing could put a damper on the souls who came to hear a message about how they can keep Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message alive.

About 70 people gathered at the Second Missionary Baptist Church to make the symbolic march over to HCC’s Stringer Fine Arts Center in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Amidst blowing snow and bone chilling temperatures, the group had smiling faces and warm hearts as they marched down 11th street to the tune of “When the Saints go Marching In” played by the HCC Jazz Band.

Once inside, the audience listened to speeches from at least 12 speakers, heard music from two choirs, and HCC music instructor Matthew Cash played the piano.

Dr. Leroy Adams, the pastor of Morning Star Baptist Church, out of Omaha, Nebraska, was the main speaker for the day.

He spoke of the importance of togetherness, love, and passing on Martin Luther King’s dream.

“We are all special in God’s eyes,” Dr. Adams said. “If we value our life, should we value others? God saw fit to value you, therefore you should value others and Martin knew this — it preaches love and togetherness.”

He shared a story about how he had the privilege to be with our nation’s legislators, Supreme Court justices, and President Obama. Even though he was amazed to be in their presence, he could only focus on a phrase that appeared above the leaders —“In God We Trust.”

He explained how in God’s eyes no one is above anyone else, and that through God’s eyes we are all equal.

“When I saw that epitaph, I realized that legislators have limited power, the justices have limited power, that even the president has limited power, but above all that there is a God. If we truly trust in God we will discover that America is the land of the free and the home of the brave,” Dr. Adams said.

He gave the audience a metaphorical story about a drop of rain.

The story was an attempt to explain that the civil rights movement of today needs to get back on course.

He began this message with a drop of rain that received instruction from a “cloud captain.” It began to fall to earth, but along the way a wind came and blew it off course.

“One day, drop of rain realized it was lost, and he said to himself, wait a minute I didn’t come here to make the ground wet, I came here to purify! I ask you now, are there any drops of rain in Hutchinson.” Dr. Adams said. “I need a drop of rain in New York, New York, I need a drop of rain in Ferguson Missouri, I need a drop of rain in Chicago, Illinois, I need a drop of rain in Omaha, Nebraska, I need a drop of rain in Hutchinson, Kansas, I need a drop of rain.”

Rev. Robin Davis took the podium before Dr. Adams, she pointed out that although Dr. King had a dream she feels as if she is living in a nightmare with all the injustices that are being passed onto the next generation, and the disrespect received by our president. She urged the audience to “pick up that baton and pass it on.”

“Where will the next Martin Luther King arise — the need is yet here — we must carry on what’s already begun,” Davis said. “If we are going to pass that baton it’s through education – yes, I’m going to pass it on! Pick up that baton, and pass it on!”

The President of HCC, Dr. Carter File also touched on education in his speech. Keeping with the overall theme of the message, Dr. File explains that injustice will only get worse if it’s granted. He told the audience that now more than ever we need to come together for a common goal.

“We must be a generation of we, not me.” Dr. File said as he began his speech.

“Society will drop the metaphorical baton on education if we allow it, we cannot allow quality education to become exclusive.” File said.

He quoted Dr. Martin Luther King to back up his message saying, “All that needs to happen for evil to prevail is that good men do nothing.”

Keeping Martin Luther King’s dream alive, that is what the baton represented in Sunday’s message. NAACP member Darrell Pope told the audience that with love the baton could be passed on.

“Never let that baton down, pass it on,” Pope said. “As the Lord said, ‘love ye one another as I have loved you’ — pick up the baton and pass it onto another and the dream will never, never, never die.”

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