January 13, 2015 --
Speaking from the premise of “reinvigorating our call to action,” guest speaker, former Juvenile Court Judge, Karen Baynes-Dunning, addressed a capacity crowd at the installation’s 2015 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday observance, Jan. 13.
Base officials, personnel and guests filled Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Chapel of the Good Shepherd for the annual event.
Emphasizing the importance of equality, community involvement and recapping the holiday’s history and purpose for the celebration, Baynes-Dunning reminded the audience of the theme: “Remember! Celebrate! Act! – A Day on … Not a Day Off!!”
“Today, the (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) holiday is celebrated on U.S. installations and it is observed in local groups in more than 100 other nations,” Baynes-Dunning said. “Trinidad (an island nation in the Caribbean) and other nations have also established a holiday in honor of Dr. King. So, this official day of service really embodies his call to action.”
Highlighting many of King’s accomplishments during the Civil Rights Movement, Baynes-Dunning continued her chronology of the leader’s impact on the masses – past and present.
“We often sum up his work and we often sum up the entire Civil Rights Movement in four words,” she added. “Those four words that can be cited by 2-year-olds, all the way up to 102-year-olds. And, that was when he stood before the mall in Washington and he declared: ‘I have a dream…’.”
In the midst of applause, Baynes-Dunning challenged attendees to reflect, with clarity, on the Civil Rights leader’s platform.
“Without taking time to really remember the vision that he had, it can be lost or blurred,” she pointed out. “Because, you see, his dream was huge; his dream was global. He once said, ‘There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor (positive) nor popular. But, he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.’ I believe today that there is a need for all people of goodwill to come together with a massive act of conscience.”
Quoting excerpts from King’s published works, the speaker continued her illustration in connecting his “dream” to the call to action.
“(Dr. King) had a dream,” she continued. “And, in his own words he said, ‘The end is reconciliation, the end is redemption, the end is the creation of the beloved community.’ In his writings on the beloved community, Dr. King teaches that love is active, love is strong, love is urgent, love is practical and love is possible.”
Ira Thompson, Command Inspector General, Marine Corps Logistics Command, and president, Albany Area Chapter, Blacks in Government, commented on the annual event he partnered in hosting.
“The significance of this day is that we are here to recognize the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Thompson reflected. “Some just remember him for a dream, but for me it’s all about the action part. We understand the remembrance, we understand the celebration. But, now we are in a part where we are moving forward with the action. This day helps us all to look at his legacy and say, ‘Where do we go from here; how do we build our community better and, instead of saying what has been done (in the past), say, what can we do?’”