A True Celebration!
For the past 7 years, Faith in the City has celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Sunday before
MLK Day. More times than not, it seems there is a snowstorm. Sunday, January 19 was not different.
As inclement as the weather was, it did not stop the speakers, choir or attendees from celebrating Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., recognizing the important work he accomplished and owning the fact that there
is still more work to be done.
Lake Shore Christian Church has hosted this celebration for the past 7 years. The celebration this year
started with Fr. Joseph Fortuna from Our Lady of the Lake Parish speaking about where we’ve been. Fr.
Joe shared his experiences of witnessing discrimination and bigotry as a child and young adult. He
shared stories experienced with family members and in his neighborhood that made him both
uncomfortable and frightened. If he felt this way as a young white man, how must those that were the
object of these ugly encounters feel?
Rev. Michelle Trotter from the House of Jubilee followed revealing her experiences of racism. She
shared the fact that she was pretty unaffected by racism as a child. It wasn’t until she was an adult,
when the Trayvon Martin shooting occurred that she was really hit with the reality of racism. How could
everyone not understand her anger with this situation as a human being, not to mention a black
woman? She helped us to confront the realities of racism today.
Rev. Rosalind Hughes from the Church of the Epiphany challenged us to recognize where we might be
personally struggling to speak up and act in ways that promote justice, fairness and unity. Are there
times that we have stood by silently, witnessing discrimination but not speaking up? How can we make
a difference in our place and time? What does our Christian faith require of us?
To me, one of the highlights of our celebration was the talk by Miss Za’Niyah Smith a freshman at
Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School. She spoke about what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. means to
her. She was so clear on the difference that Dr. King made in her life. She talked about the
things that she was able to do because of what Dr. King accomplished. Her focus and passion
were inspiring to me.
It is not possible to have a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. without talking about service. Pastor
Gerald Cameron from Celebration United Methodist Church reminded us of the importance of service.
We are called to support each other on our journey. We are sister and brothers travelling together and
when one of us stumbles, it’s up to us the help them along.
I was honored to talked about the future in Euclid. Looking out over the diverse crowd of young and old,
black and white, male and female, I couldn’t help but smile seeing an example of what should be
everywhere. The respect and affection that people felt towards each other was palpable in the
sanctuary. The event is called Unity in the Community and that’s exactly what it felt like. People
ventured out in a snowstorm to not only pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. but also to make a
statement about what they want the future to look like in Euclid. I pray that those that experienced
what I experienced, help spread that respect and affection all over the city of Euclid!
Vice President of Moore Counseling and Mediation Services, Inc., Councilman for Euclid Ward 2 and Associate Minister at Lake Shore Christian Church. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org