MLK’s dream celebrated at Greenport church

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Members of the Clinton Memorial AME Zion Church Choir sing at Sunday's Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in Greenport.
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Members of the Clinton Memorial AME Zion Church Choir sing at Sunday’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in Greenport.

The biggest threat to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a tolerant world are the “dream killers,” said Rev. Donald Butler during a ceremony to honor the civil rights hero in Greenport Sunday afternoon.

“We still have those who are trying to kill our dream,” he said in a speech during the event, adding that though progress has been made, it is up to every person to make a stand when they see prejudice against any peoples.

“The alarm has been going off for years now and some of us have been sleeping,” Rev. Butler said, urging those in attendance to work to make Dr. King’s dream reality. “No dream comes true until you wake up and do the work. We all have a responsibility here and we must all work.”

A celebration of Dr. King’s life was held at the Clinton Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church on Third Street and included members of Southold Town’s Anti Bias Task Force and pastors and congregations from local churches.

Father Peter Garry of St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Southold gave the invocation at the event, saying that he remembers the day Dr. King died, “the sadness, the loss.”

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell was a guest speaker at the ceremony and he said that though much has been accomplished to eliminate prejudice, he agreed there is more progress that needs to be made. He used the question his children often ask him: “Are we there yet?”

“We’ve traveled a long long way,” Mr. Russell said. “We have a very long way to go … We can get there, but there’s a lot of work that’s left to be done. ”

Greenport student Julesiah Atkins read a passage from Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech, with the crowd joining in as she read, “Free at last, free at last; thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”

The event featured performances by the Community Baptist Church and Clinton Memorial AME Zion Choirs. At the end of the ceremony, after Rev. Butler’s speech, audience member stood and held hands, swaying as they sang “We Shall Overcome” together.

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