Leaders gather to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Faith Temple Church of God In Christ held an event Monday to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., reflecting on the struggles of the time and recognizing where we’ve come as a society.

“I, Steve Allender, Mayor of Rapid City, do hereby proclaim January 17th, 2022 as Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Rapid City, and encourage all residents to observe this day with deep respect in honor of Dr. King,” Mayor Allender said to open the event.

MLK Celebration EventRepresentatives from Faith Temple Church and other organizations spoke on Dr. King’s values.

I’m a child of that era. So everything that we did today is just a reminder to everybody of the struggles for us to get to this point,” says Rich Richardson, an Elder at Faith Temple Church. “We haven’t really gotten to where we need to be, but the key to it is us loving each other.”

Speeches mixed with prayer and song called attendees to be the change they hope to see.

“Let us become instruments of peace. Let us become instruments of love,” adds Carl Johnson, a chaplain who recently moved to Box Elder. “Like Martin Luther King, let us become people of humility, and of service.”

Although the nature of our divisions have shifted since Dr. King’s time, the solutions remain the same.

“It’s not the fact that we’re divided, but how do we deal with that division,” Bishop Troy Carr, Pastor at Faith Temple Church says. “Dr. King, and something that we can take from then into now, that he preached a message of nonviolence.”

Organizers say the event continues to grow each year.

“We have a curiosity about each other,” Richardson adds. “And I think that curiosity about what makes me who I am, and what makes you who you are will someday gel to where it doesn’t matter. It’s just that we have one goal in mind, just for me to show love and for me to receive love back. So every year that we do this, it’s just getting closer and closer to that time.” 

And then maybe one day, a dream will come true.

“That my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” said former South Dakota Legislator, Gordon Howie as he read the words of Martin Luther King Jr.

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