Do the right thing!
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 21, 2014
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King Jr.
In 1994, legislation was signed by then U.S. President Bill Clinton to create “Martin Luther King Day of Service” – to encourage citizens to use the federal holiday, first observed in 1986, as an opportunity to give back to their communities with citizen action and volunteer service. Considered a “day on, not a day off” individuals were encouraged to work towards King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.”
The Ahoskie Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority have been calling on citizens of the Roanoke-Chowan area to do this same thing for 35 years by presenting an annual tribute at an area church that honors Dr. King’s legacy. In recent years they have been joined in celebration by the 4th and 5th District Order of the Eastern Star Lodge.
Sunday at Indian Woods Missionary Baptist Church in Windsor the Delta program’s 2014 theme was ‘Ensuring Our Legacy”. Keynote speaker was 6th Judicial District Chief Judge W. Rob Lewis.
In many ways Lewis has paralleled King’s career by entering the ministry. In addition to his time on the bench, he also serves as pastor of Conocanary Missionary Baptist Church in Aulander and now as interim pastor at Indian Woods.
“I didn’t come here to preach,” Lewis extolled the crowd of over 200 assembled. “What is it about a legacy that we must ensure it must not end?” he challenged the congregation. “One legacy is a gift, a bequest of money or property; but more importantly, legacy is something transmitted from the past that does not go to the wayside.
“Maybe it’s a legacy of advocacy that Martin Luther King received from Frederick Douglass, or a legacy of courage received from Harriet Tubman, or a legacy of ingenuity received from George Washington Carver, or a legacy of the machinations of the legal system received from Thurgood Marshall,” Lewis intoned. “Maybe it’s caring, or character, or perseverance, or maybe it’s something he found only in a people who know how good a God can be.”
Pausing, Lewis said this should not be a holiday to just stay at home, but rather a day one should pledge to make a difference in someone’s life.
“This holiday should be used so that we can learn to do the right thing,” he challenged. “Because whenever we do the right thing then we can insure a legacy that will never end. If we sit down and do nothing and ignore the consequences of being political, then all the gains we’ve made will be lost: as Carter G. Woodson once said, ‘When you control a man’s thinking you don’t have to worry about his actions’.”
Lewis concluded his remarks by saying people must go to the church. “Because no matter how great we become, we are no greater than the least of us,” he warned, “because if we start to see God, we’ll learn to help one another.
“Save the soul of Bertie County, save the soul of Hertford County,” he declared. “We’ve got to start doing the right thing; and it’s always the right time to do the right thing.”
On Monday, the Eastern Star celebration attracted a large crowd to New Ahoskie Baptist Church for a special MLK Day worship service. Hertford and Bertie County officials welcomed the group and challenged them to use the holiday to make a difference.
As he dismissed the crowd the keynote speaker, Pastor Rev. C. David Stackhouse, quoted one of Dr. King’s more famous lines:
“If you can’t fly, then run; if you can run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”