• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

31st MLK Unity Breakfast draws over 160 people

More than 160 people shared a meal and a message during the 31st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration and Breakfast Monday at First Christian Church. Among the attendees were state Rep. James Kay, state Sen. Julian Carroll, Woodford Judge-Executive John Coyle, Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift and Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott, members of Woodford Fiscal Court and the two city councils, and several area pastors. Before the speakers and a song by Aaron Mason, many filed by Doug Smith's display of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorabilia and this year's addition: dozens of magazine covers and other photos of President Barack Obama and his family. Mason sang "A Change is Gonna Come," a tune written by Sam Cooke after Cooke was turned away from a hotel due to his race that became an anthem for the 1960s civil rights movement. Speaker Rhoda Raglin's theme was "The call for unity." The pastor of Simpson Methodist Church since June of 2014, Raglin used the letters in the word "remember" as an acronym for Dr. King's message: Revisit, expectations, master (the task at hand), engage and example, mental memories, blessed encouragement and rejoice. She began by reading a poem that included the lines, ". So on this day, let freedom ring and we remember Dr. Martin Luther King," then, when applause broke out, said that before anyone Googled the work, she wanted to point out that she didn't write it. Raglin also shared some of King's most memorable phrases: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness - only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate - only love can do that," and "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy. Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." Four days before the end of the second term of the first black U.S. President, Raglin said, "As a matter of fact, Dr. Martin Luther King's dream has manifested . before our very eyes, because here we sit in a room right now where our children are sitting together, we are sitting together and if that doesn't help you along, we have an African-American president right now. Right now, we do - eight years ." she said, adding with a laugh that she'd leave the subject of the next President alone. "Even that alone is a dream that's been delivered and manifested, because there's no way you could have told us well over some years ago that we would ever see that . "But anyway, we'll keep moving - we're talking about unity, we're not trying to divide," she said to laughter. Raglin closed by saying that there were plenty of reasons for everyone in the audience to rejoice. "That's the reason why I can rejoice - knowing that today we get to celebrate, but tomorrow we go back to work," she said. After Raglin's message, Peggy Carter Seal announced that Tamia Jackson, who last year was awarded a $500 scholarship from the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Human Rights Commission and Woodford County Roots and Heritage Committee, would be given another $500. Jackson, a sophomore at Eastern Kentucky University, thanked the groups and the donors. After the program ended, Matti Springate, a 15-year-old white girl, said the service was amazing. "I don't go to church that often, and I loved it. I just loved it so much. I thought it was very inclusive. It really spoke to the message of equality, and man, the soloist (Mason), he was just amazing ." Springate said. Tanya Clark, a middle-aged black woman attending her fourth MLK breakfast, seemed equally impressed. "It was really nice. The speaker really brought it to point, where we need to remember where we came from and where we are now and where we're going. I think it's good to remember that," she said.

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