MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY --
On Aug. 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his renowned “I Have a Dream Speech” on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Today, Kimberly Persley, coordinating chief, Department of Community Supervision, Dougherty Judicial Circuit, Albany, Georgia, and keynote speaker at the M.L.K. Program, challenged attendees to “Rise Up from the Dream.”
The annual ceremony is a collaborative effort between the Albany Area Chapter of Blacks in Government and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. It was held at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd and was attended by installation and community officials to include MCLB Albany’s commanding officer, Col. James C. Carroll, III.
“It’s an honor to be here with you today and joining in with our local chapter of Blacks in Government to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Carroll said. “Your presence here today is a true testament to the fact that nearly 50 years after (his) death, we come together from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds to celebrate lifetime of achievements and contributions toward the betterment of mankind.”
After a performance from the MCLB Albany Gospel Choir, Persley addressed the crowded chapel.
“As we come to celebrate the life and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we can’t help but to pay tribute for the impact that he has made in our lives,” Persley said. “You see, we are here to remember, to celebrate and to act!”
January 15, 2018 is a day on and not a day off, she pointed out.
“Martin Luther King Jr. was instrumental in changing the destiny of America,” she said. “Dr. King’s determination to no longer permit things as the way they were prompted unbelievable, and to some, unimaginable changes. He revolutionized what appeared to be impossible to unlimited possibilities.
“King transformed the mind and the message of what was to be for generations to come,” she stated. “I am so thankful that King would not allow nobody to turn him around. (He) did not allow his struggles to derail, to destroy or determine his fate. He was the change agent that changed all agents.”
Persley spoke of King’s well-known “I Have a Dream” speech and challenged the attendees to “Rise Up from the Dream.”
“The world is full of broken dreams,” she declared. “Broken dreams have been buried deeply into the soil of history and carried away into the darkest distance. Each day, we see the remnants of what could have, should have and might have been!
“We witness wasted potential, wasted hope, so much so, it appears that destroyed dreams have made their destination and taken demanding residence in many African-American communities,” she expressed. “Broken homes, broken relationships, broken schools and broken ambition.
“(Former) President Barack Obama sat at the helm of America, and black-folk holding first place in prison population, armed robberies, shootings (and) far behind in education,” she noted. “Our children now have a language of their own -- broken communication. Every age has its watershed moments, its messengers, its prophets, its historic events; but they are all somewhat shattered in this moment. We are now the keepers of their dreams.”
Persley told the crowd King had a dream that one day the nation would rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”
“He had a dream that his four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” she explained. “He had a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
“Rise up and share your dream,” she said. “We have the liberty to chase and share our dream and no one can take that away from us. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. This world desperately needs a change. Are you willing and ready to be that change?”