by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi
Over 15 churches from across the Northern Neck were represented at a Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Community Celebration Monday at Calvary Baptist Church in Kilmarnock.
The two-hour event, sponsored by the Northumberland Ministerial Association, was multi-denonominational and attended by more than 150 people.
“As a church we need to stand united when we see injustices,” Rev. Tyron Williams told the congregation. Rev. Williams of Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Wicomico Church delivered the sermon.
Rev. Williams grew up in the deep South in Augusta, Ga., during the 1950s and 60s and said he was subject to social injustices. He experienced racism first hand, remembering the signs that hung above the water fountains and restrooms, and explaining the desire to dine at certain restaurants only to be told by his father they weren’t allowed.
When he was 10, his parents and grandparents told him about a black man, a black preacher named Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was preaching for equality.
As a teen in the 1970s, Rev. Williams’ friend was one of six young black men gunned down during a peaceful march.
Unfortunately, he said, “history repeats itself. Today, the reality is not much has changed in our society.”
Rev. Williams said systematic racism is still alive and we have to work to eliminate educational disparity, encourage industry in rural communities with better paying jobs for both our high school and college educated workforce and that churches of all denominations need to come together for a change. Rev. Williams said that Dr. King brought people of different religions together to fight for equality, “and if we are to change the climate of indifference in our county, we must do the same.”
Churches, he said, must work together not just to feed the hungry but to end hunger, and not to just clothe and house the homeless, but to end homelessness. He called on all to be God’s servants.