‘Cling to King’s dream’

‘Cling to King’s dream’
January 23
09:07 2020

20th annual Prayer Breakfast kicks off festivities for MLK Jr. Day

The more than 1,000 people from every walk of life in attendance at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast earlier this week were spurred to “cling to King’s dream,” work together, and continue to fight for change by exercising their right to vote.

“Dr. Martin Luther King’s words had power and they gave us hope and hope is defined as joyful, confident expectations,” said Brigadier General James Gorham while delivering the keynote address. 

A native of Pitt County, Gen. Gorham joined the Army right out of high school. He later continued his education at East Carolina University before he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the N.C. National Guard, where he served for more than 30 years. In 2009 Gorham made history when he became the first African American to reach the rank of General in the history of the N.C. National Guard. He retired in 2012 with nearly 40 years of military service. 

Gorham also had a successful civilian career in banking and served as director of special projects for the N.C. Department of Public Safety. 

“Dr. King planted the trees where under the shade we now sit. I and many of you here are direct beneficiaries of Dr. King’s dream and thereby part of his legacy,” he continued. “Like Dr. King, we as leaders have to be intentional about what we do as well as what we say. Now next month is Black History Month; sometimes it is referred to as African American History Month. Being that the 2020 national theme for African American History Month is ‘The African American and the Vote,’ I think it is appropriate today to acknowledge that Dr. King was the driving force behind the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”

Gorham went on to say if we truly believe what Dr. King lived and died for, we cannot allow his dream to die. He said, “Although we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, we must not despair but cling to the dream.”

Gorham’s address marked the 20th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast hosted by The Chronicle and the Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity. 

Although there are many events held throughout the city to honor Dr. King, since the inaugural event held in 2000, the annual Prayer Breakfast has become the unofficial kickoff to Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the various events held in Winston-Salem. A mixture of reflections on Dr. King’s legacy and push for future action, the breakfast brings people together like no other and, according to James Taylor, publisher of The Chronicle, together is the only way to tear down the walls of injustice. 

“Together we win,” Taylor said. “We cannot let our differences of opinion, our different factions of faith, we can’t let our Republican, Democratic, or Independent political affiliations stop the work that we’re doing on this wall, because together we win.” 

When discussing the importance of the annual event, Mayor Allen Joines said the Prayer Breakfast is a great way to start the day and commemorate the life of Dr. King. 

“Today’s commemoration is a very important and fitting way to remember and remind ourselves to continue to love one another, to shine the light of righteousness and fairness on the dark areas of hate and fearmongering, and a lot of that is going,” Joines said. “So James, thank you for your hard work and continue to keep this day honored in a great way.” 

Sponsors for the 20th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast were: Reynolds American Inc., BB&T, the City of Winston-Salem, Novant Health, Truliant Federal Credit Union, Wake Forest University, and Maximum Enterprises. The Chronicle would also like to extend special thanks to all the other organizations that made the event a success.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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