It is more important now than ever to reimagine Dr. Martin Luther King’s thoughts on civility.
That according to keynote speaker Robert Gardenhire. The Tennessee Tech graduate lead Monday’s Cookeville-Putnam County NAACP MLK celebration.
He said Dr. King’s beliefs in justice, love, respect and unity are the cornerstones of civil progress.
“The turmoils of our times necessitate that we reimagine civility,” Gardenhire said. “We need to see ourselves climbing out of the deepening ditch of our differences instead of digging in with the ranker of division.”
Uplifting songs and prayer were apart of the virtual celebration, including a full reading of Dr. King’s, “I Have A Dream,” speech. NAACP Branch President Tom Savage said we are not where we want to be in civil rights, but thanks to Dr. King, we are not where we used to be.
“We are about to have a woman of color as vice-president of the United States for the first time in history,” Savage said. “We are about to have the most diverse cadre of cabinet members in the United States’ history. We just experienced a massive racial reckoning in the country, in which millions of Americans march for equality despite even recent events. We have to remember that the art of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
Cookeville City Councilman Mark Miller greeted listeners on behalf of the city. Miller said we have to continue to empower communities of color with the power of democracy.
“We have to continue to pressure our law makers to strive for equality in every decision that they make,” Miller said. “In the next four years, we have to be cognizant of election security laws. That they do not turn into voter disenfranchisement laws or intimidation legislation. As a community, we have to learn to live together to strive.”
A silent March will be held Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. at Tennessee Tech starting on the President’s Lawn in honor of MLK Day.