The message of Martin Luther King Jr. extends far beyond race, it is the belief that society can move beyond violence and prejudice toward a true utopia. Now, more than a month after the death of 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Conn., King’s message is being used to bring new hope to the devastated community.
The Rev. James A. Forbes Jr., the first black man to serve as the senior minister of New York’s Riverside Church, spoke at the Newtown Congregational Church on Sunday night, as a part of a celebration honoring King and those who were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
“The saddest face I ever saw on Martin Luther King was at the funeral of the four little girls slain in Birmingham, Ala.,” Forbes said. “We ask today, as King did then, ‘Lord, what can come out of this that will honor those lost in this tragedy?’
“We have seen that violence can strike anywhere,” Forbes continued, according to CBS. “Yes, King talked about violence, but he also talked about transformation and healing in the wake of violence.”
President Barack Obama was sworn in using a Bible carried by King, delighting the civil rights leader’s family. At Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, visitors celebrated Obama’s inauguration, while honoring the 50th year since King delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech in Washington, D.C. Ebenezer Baptist Church is in Atlanta’s historic fourth ward, near King’s childhood home and The King Center, a national historic site.
King’s daughter, Bernice King, recognized Obama’s efforts to create a more nonviolent society during an appearance on CNN’s Starting Point. She said that the president is “in one of the interesting positions where we’ll have to find a way to bring the nation together to heal the nation.”
A minister and civil rights activist in her own right, Bernice King said she intends to call for “healing and reconciliation, in light of the gun discussions and discourse going now, that we’ve got to really consider creating a more nonviolent society.”