By KELSIE LeROSE
Times West Virginian
FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was celebrated for his life and legacy Sunday at the annual program held at Morning Star Baptist Church in Fairmont.
Members of the community remembered, celebrated and praised King at the celebration held by the Marion County chapter of the NAACP.
Reverend Wesley Dobbs, the facilitator of the event, said it is important that King got his message across without violence.
“To me, Dr. King gave a lot of his life and his time to make things right for every race,” he said. “Sometimes you want to say it is the black race, but it is not. It is equality for every race. I think that is why I look up to him. I think he was a hero in his time because he did not believe in violence, he was a nonviolent person, but yet he got a strong message across.”
The dreamer is gone, but the dream lives on, Dobbs said.
“There is a lot of things to be done, but we can do it,” he added. “I just thank God that he gave us something to look forward to work at. He left a legacy here that we need to fill.”
Dobbs added that the event is important to continue, especially for the younger generation.
“We just try to bring it to memory and let them know who Dr. King was,” Dobbs said. “It is important for us to carry this out as long as we have breathe. Let the young people know, ‘Hey, there was somebody that thought so much of the world that he gave all he had.’”
Memori Dobbs was this year’s guest speaker. She is a member of Christian Love Ministries where she sings with the praise team. Dobbs also serves on the board of governors for Pierpont Community & Technical College and is on the Local School Improvement Council (LSIC) at Fairmont Senior High school.
Memori Dobbs talked about this year’s celebration theme titled “In Pursuit of the Beloved Community.”
“I came here to speak on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
and how it has affected us all,” she said. “Not only African-Americans, but all Americans, to give us all equality that we can live together in peace and share what God has in plan for us here on the Earth.”
To Memori Dobbs, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. means freedom.
“He means that those slavery chains are off, and we are no longer bond by inequality,” she said.
King is a great example of love, Memori Dobbs said.
“He had to truly love his community to do all that he did and persevere through all that he did,” she added. “That is a great example of love. If we all can love we can see results like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”
She added that there is still work left to be done.
“Times have changed. People have changed. But there are still things that we all can do to help our communities,” Memori Dobbs said.
She hopes her speech encouraged people “just to love.”
“I encourage all to love and in their pursuit to their beloved community. I want them to recognize what it is that the community needs to and go forward to complete the needs of the community,” she said.
U.S. Sen Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said in a released statement that it is important to celebrate the legacy of “one of the most inspirational and influential figures in our nation’s history.”
“As we commemorate Dr. King’s life, work and legacy on this day, I encourage all West Virginians to reflect on the opportunities we have to improve the lives of others and to take action by dedicating an hour to making a difference in your local community,” Manchin said.
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