NEWBERRY — “We are moving forward. Do not mingle in yesterday. Let us not be complacent with where we are,” said the Rev. Nura Ray Matthews at Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. event.
Matthews was joined in a packed Bethlehem Baptist Church with other church leaders and attendees who came to honor the late Martin Luther King Jr.
The event started with a march at 9:30 a.m. at Miller Chapel A.M.E. where people marched down Caldwell to College Street recalling the 1963 Washington, D.C., march for civil rights. The echoes of songs such as “Oh, Happy Day” were heard from marchers as they walked.
Bethlehem Baptist’s Deacon James Hunter encouraged the audience to remember and celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Rev. James Williams recalled words from the late King including, “… I don’t know what will happen now. We have got some difficult days ahead. … I’m not concerned, I just want to do God’s will to go up to the mountain. …”
The program was filled with messages from Matthews, Hunter, Williams as well as other local leaders around the county and even someone from outside the county. Newberry College graduate Jeffrey Lampkin delivered a brief message and then brought the filled room to its feet with praise music.
Building up the youth
Michael Burnside encouraged the older people be examples to the young people.
“Those are the ones we need to be working on right here. If you don’t have what they want or can attract them, they will go somewhere else. As a parent, as a friend, it’s your responsibility to do right for them,” said Burnside.
One group that had several representatives at the event was Citizens in Action (CIA), which was founded by Newberry resident Reggie Cannon in September 2012.
“We had some shootings in Newberry and wanted to be visible with the kids, the youth and let them know we are here to listen and to help,” said Cannon. “We want to be in the community and march against violence.”
Cannon said there are about 20 people involved in the group, which has been meeting weekly at St. Matthews Baptist Church for the past several weeks. Members of the group strive to have a positive impact on youth and welcome any concerned citizen to attend the meetings.
The group has already hosted a parent forum and youth forum and have a couple events approaching in the next couple of months.
Citizens in Action plans to have a youth day at 11 a.m. Feb. 23 at the Skating Rink on S.C. 34. They also plan to have a talent show for the youth in the next couple of months.