Jan. 18—MOSES LAKE — The life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was commemorated with music, poetry and a reading of King's 1963 speech at the Lincoln Memorial — commonly referred to as the "I have a dream" speech — in a ceremony Monday.
Charlie Jones, president of the Martin Luther King Committee, said a program commemorating King each January is a longstanding tradition in Moses Lake. He's been president of the committee for more than two decades, he said, and the practice started long before that.
A small crowd marched from McCosh Park to the Moses Lake Civic Center on a cold winter day, carrying signs with quotes from the civil rights leader. During the program organizers showed a video tracing King's life, his work as a minister and civil rights leader.
Children in the committee's Dreamers in Action group read a poem they had written in honor of King, and some rang handbells when they talked about letting freedom ring. Students from the Advanced Learning preschool sang a couple of songs, with the help of children from the audience and Charlie Jones.
"I'm a preschooler," Jones announced as he joined the children on stage.
The committee sponsored a coloring contest for kindergartners through second graders in Moses Lake schools and an essay contest for third through fifth graders. Students in Kandace Kelce's first-grade class at Longview Elementary took first place in their division with a poster that featured a drawing of their hands. Kelce said she asked the children what they would do to change the world, and she wrote their answers on the poster.
Charlie Jones was the speaker and said he thought the ideas King represented — freedom, justice, opportunity — still need defending, and that people should think about how they can defend them.
During his message Clinton Meharry, pastor of the Moses Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church, pointed to the shirts worn by committee members.
"What are you doing to serve God?" the shirts said, and Meharry said that was a message from the Bible and one that also applies to efforts for equal treatment for all, both in King's time and now.
King's 1963 speech is most famous for its line about having a dream, and Meharry said people can and should keep working to make King's dream of equality a reality.
Conrado Gonzaga, pastor of the Moses Lake United Methodist Church, sang the Louis Armstrong classic "Wonderful World," saying that he and his congregation wanted to promote love, compassion and justice in the country and the world. The choir, called the praise team, from the Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, performed hymns. Glory Jones performed a rap solo, calling for brotherhood and an end to injustice.
Plasido Lindsey, pastor at Galilee Baptist, delivered the recital of King's 1963 speech. He said King's speech points out injustice, but also shows how to remedy it.
Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.