By Journalist Dr. Ms. Jones
POUGHKEEPSIE – “Could it be our dilemma is we’ve stopped dreaming?” asked Pastor Rev. Dr. Jesse Bottoms on Sunday, January 14th at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Service. The event was held at Beulah Baptist Church. It was presented by The Dutchess County African American Clergy Association.
The service was filled with clergy, the faith community, and politicians. The Honorable Mayor Yvonne Flowers gave a call to action.
“Volunteer by participating in community events, joining a community board, or committee. Helping our community partners or volunteering at our schools not only provides you with the opportunity to make a positive impact in this community, but also helps you build positive relationships with others in the community,” said Flowers, the city’s first African American mayor. “So, my call to action is to find a way to get more involved in our community and help build a legacy for the next generation to follow. We need to continue to explain the footprint of community service to help motivate the next generation to continue to work. Work on the injustices that still exist in this country today and to make the necessary improvements just in our community alone.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a civil rights activist. He was never a politician, even though some of his biggest victories in The Civil Rights Movement were getting the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965 passed. He was born on January 15th, 1929.
“Dr. King would have been 95 years old tomorrow. 95! What would he say about the United States of America today? Well, first I would say, he would have been very proud of the advances in the Black middle class and the fact that there are so many in leadership positions in all levels of government and in the corporate world. Yet, [he would be] disappointed in the lack of progress for so many. He would also be disheartened by the increase in hate crimes in recent years against so many groups. He would be horrified by the gun violence affecting all of our communities and how we become almost numb to the daily news reports of mass shootings. He would have been proud of those that have been elected, from President Obama to others… But, he would have been disappointed that so many now take the right to vote for granted and do not vote, especially in local elections. This is something that all of us in public and community life must take seriously to deal with and correct,” said Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson.
Bishop Dr. James Hassell preached the message. Other speakers included: Dutchess County Executive Sue Serino, Congressman Pat Ryan, NYS Senator 39th District Robert Rolison, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation Karen Hochhauser, Councilmember 3rd Ward Mrs. Terriciena A. Brown, The Honorable Barrington Atkins District #10 Dutchess County Legislature, NYS Lt. Governor Anthony Delgado, Rev. Michael Bell, and Apostle Debra E. Gause who is the Vice President of The Dutchess County African American Clergy Association. Many echoed similar sentiments: we are still fighting for the dream.
“The March on Washington was over 60 years ago. And I want you to do your research. Go on Google and YouTube and look at what the signs of the march were saying, ‘Increase minimum wage,’‘Better jobs,’‘Voting rights.’ It is 2024 and it’s the same thing. So, the Civil Rights Movement is not over. The rights of our people are not over. We have to continue that fight. We have to continue to stand up for these things to make Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream become a reality,” said Councilmember at Large Da’Ron Wilson.