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Monday, April 7, 2008

Dr. King Remembered in Frederick, MD

Guy Djoken

Last Sunday, Quaker, Muslims, members of the Bahia faith, Jews and Christians gathered at the Unity Church in Frederick for the Closing Ceremony of the "Seasons for Peace and Non-violence." The Season for Nonviolence, January 30 - April 4, is a national 64-day educational, media, and grassroots campaign dedicated to demonstrating that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform, and empower our lives and our communities. Inspired by the 50th and 40th memorial anniversaries of the deaths of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this international event honors their vision for an empowered, nonviolent world.

Rev. Toni Fish, Pastor of the Unity Church in Frederick and other spiritual leaders seized the opportunity to share a committment to living and sharing the empowering principles of love, peace and prosperity through dialogue and collaboration. It was gratifying to see leaders of all faiths gather in Frederick on this occasion to work for a common cause throughout the whole season; each of them sponsoring at least one event. Indeed, it was a great day for our community. Even though our elected officials were absent, I am optimistic that they will join the growing movement next year.

Forty years ago, Rev. Dr King took on Vietnam and decried U.S. militarism in a way few have dared to, knowing well that many were so short sighted as to grasp the real meaning of his call. "I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos," said King in 1967 speeches on foreign policy, "without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government."

He eventually paid the ultimate price in his death, a circumstance that is yet to be totally revealed to the general public. In the light of the last seven years, it is worth revisiting Dr. King's message and learning from him to elaborate clear strategies for gaining the moral high ground.

As we commemorate his life, it will be worth taking a moment to make the trip within ourselves to unleash the love that lies within all of us. Let's remember that education, love and compassion is the only cure to ignorance, violence and greed. That knowledge will lift us on moral high ground where Dr. King wanted us to be.

Guy Djoken is President NAACP, Frederick County, Maryland Branch

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