The reality of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream lives on through citizens in the community who have dedicated to a lifelong of labor and service to their community. Recognizing that service and leadership was the focus of the 42nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration at Antioch M.B.C.
The event was sponsored by State Representative Sylvester Turner, The North Churches, the Houston Baptist Pastors and Ministers Fellowship and Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. Pastor F.N. Williams Sr., who served as master of ceremonies and also pastors the church, said this year’s tribute was memorable and should cause Black people not only to refocus and recommit to advancing the dream that Martin Luther King Jr. lived and died for.
“The dream is still alive,” Williams said. “Dr. King gave his life for freedom and the cause. We must participate, do our parts and use our voting power to make a difference.” The night was filled with singing, prayers and praises for the progress, but highlighting the evening were the honorees who sparked the ceremony with their motivating words and a special King Day message from Pastor Ralph Douglas West, founder of The Church Without Walls.
Those honored for their dedication and community service included businesswoman and Acres Home resident Gertha Hayward, African-American News&Issues Publisher Roy Douglas Malonson and Pastor F.N. Williams, Sr. A host of dignitaries were present for the event including U.S. Congressional Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green, longtime State Sen. John Whitmire, State Rep. Ron Reynolds, District B Council Member Jerry Davis, Precinct One Constable Alan Rosen and Lane Lewis, county chair of the Harris County Democratic Party County to name a few.
Hayward, who received an 2014, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award, was both surprised and humbled by the recognition. She said her main goals in life have always been to serve God and work hard and be an example to all people living in the community and coming to her shop . Mrs. Hayward is the sole proprietor of L&L Barber Shop, where she has served customers and the community for 49 years. She is the wife of the Reverend Jasper Hayward, pastor of Greater Community Missionary Baptist Church. After receiving her award, Hayward thanked the audience for years of friendships and patronage at her salon.
Publisher Roy Malonson was presented the 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Trailblazer award by Sen. Whitmire for his work in the community as a mentor and for his efforts to keep the community informed on issues with the African-American News&Issues. Malonson accepted the award and then dazzled the crowd with some emotional jaw dropping, eye opening comments about the state of African-Americans and Martin Luther King’s dream in the community.
Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee also presented Williams, now 85, with a special lifetime achievement award and a United States Flag for his untiring community service and efforts to model King’s dream by fighting for justice and civil rights in Houston. Williams encourages more participation and for Blacks to take ownership of the community and use our resources and powers to push forward to dream.
Pastor West encouraged each to remember Dr. King, but work to continue the dream by doing a self examination, being a community “light” and resolving to work, serve and help the whole community improve.