FLORENCE, S.C. — Unity in the community: that’s what Paula Morris, organizer of the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in Lake City, said the celebration promotes.
“We see different ethnic groups come together,” Morris said. “You see diversity with young people and old people who come together. That’s what makes it different. It shows how Dr. King did. When he marched, there were all people there.”
The event started with a march from The Continuum to Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church. Lake City native Col. Addison Burgess Sr. served as the keynote speaker.
A group of nearly 40 people of varying ages faced the chilly temperatures and wind to participate in the march. Morris, who led the march, led songs and spoke about King’s legacy over a megaphone. Lake City Police and Fire Departments escorted the group.
The program featured a continental breakfast, fellowship and a program that featured Rep. Roger Kirby, Mayor Lovith Anderson Jr. and performances by Ministry on the Move for Christ and Dramatic Coffee Beans.
Anderson welcomed everyone to the program. He told those gathered about King’s visit to Kingstree in the 1966. Anderson recalled it was a sunny day until King was getting ready to speak. King encouraged everyone to wait at their cars for the rain to pass.
“He simply said, ‘Don’t worry about it. It will be all right. Go to your cars for just a few moments. The storm will pass over,’” Anderson said. “I’m repeating that today to tell you: Whatever storm this community is going through, the storm will pass over.”
Burgess encouraged those in attendance to embrace who they are.
“If you want to be whatever you want, the sky is the limit,” Burgess said. “Go get it. They can’t stop you from getting an education. Go get it.”
Burgess expressed the importance of remembering those who are supportive by reflecting on those people in his life.
“I didn’t have much,” Burgess said. “I had a mom who expressed love and concern. I had some aunts who were like mothers, too. I had a grandma who had a high school degree. She didn’t have a theological seminary degree, but she has a degree in praying to the Lord. You have those same people right here.”
The Monday morning events were the second day of events celebrating King’s legacy. Sunday afternoon Florence School District 3 students spoke at Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church.