300 celebrate life, legacy of MLK at Kick-Off Program
Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 10, 2006 at 11:17 p.m.
The echo of their voices resonated inside the white walls and vaulted ceilings of the congregation, inspiring some to stand up with their hands outstretched to the heavens Tuesday, celebrating the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
FYI: 2006 King Week events
For more information on events in this listing, please contact the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida, 376-2442.
More than 300 people spilled out of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Gainesville for the 21st annual King Week Kick-Off Program, commemorating King's birthday. The standing-room-only service included prayer, singing and several speeches by area preachers and government leaders.
The Rev. Adrian S. Taylor, pastor of Springhill Missionary Baptist Church, gave the keynote address.
The Rev. Milford L. Griner, a member of the MLK Commission of Florida, which organizes the event, called King a preacher of "great faith and courage."
He encouraged the community to fight for equality and justice for all people - as King did.
"Don't be afraid to stand up for justice," Griner said, followed by a chorus of "Amens" and deafening applause from the audience.
Alachua County Commissioner Rodney J. Long noted how different times are now than when King was leading the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
"Who would've thought we'd be all sitting here in downtown Gainesville at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church recognizing a trouble-maker," said Long, who was greeted by roaring laughter.
The crowd clapped and sang to music selections performed by the Mount Moriah Baptist Church Men's Choir, the Charles W. Duval Fine Arts Academy and the Williams Elementary School Chorus.
The service is part of a week of events in advance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 16. - which is a national holiday.
But it's not a holiday for relaxation and barbecues, Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan said during her address.
"This is a time for us to put our words into action," Hanrahan said. "We all need to stick together."
FYI: Post-King Week events
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 18
SATURDAY, MARCH 11
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