DREAM is alive: Local events honor Martin Luther King Jr.Published 2:15am Friday, January 18, 2013
By VAIL STEWART RUMLEY
Washington Daily News
Beaufort County Clerk of Court Marty Paramore and Southside high-school student Rajae Barnes. School custodian Charlie Clark and county Commissioner Jerry Langley. Chocowinity Middle School students Kevin White and Tiaree Hines and Beaufort County Arts Council administrative assistant Eleanor Rollins. Alicia Vosburgh, principal of Chocowinity Primary School, and 87-year-old Elmer Bonner, who never went to high school.
To read the list of names, there is very little to connect the dots from one to the next. Beneath the surface, however, they are connected: by community, by an event and a speech delivered 50 years ago by one of the most influential Americans of the 20th century.
Monday night, 29 people will take turns reading the speech Martin Luther King Jr. gave during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963. Instead of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, they will read from the lawn of Chocowinity Town Hall, what is widely known as a masterpiece of rhetoric: the “I Have a Dream Speech.”
The event is sponsored by Southside High School’s Student Government Association and spearheaded by SGA adviser Chynna Bonner. This will be the third time Bonner has organized the event — she did so in Hickory when she was resident advisor for Lenoir-Rhyne University and again in Roper, where she worked as a school counselor at Washington County Union Middle School. According to Bonner, the event’s success all hinges on the participation of the community. That’s why she reached out to school leaders, staff and students, and community leaders.
“It’s a very simple program, but it’s the feeling behind the words that is makes it powerful,” Bonner said. “I’ve enjoyed it each time.”
The candlelight vigil will begin at 6 p.m. and Bonner is expecting the community to come out to remember the foremost leader of the Civil Right Era, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the speech that embodied its highest principals.
Kyle White, executive counsel president of SHSSGA will give the welcome, other students will sing, still others will be a part of the reading.
“The kids are excited,” Bonner said. “When I put the call out, they got excited.”
Bonner was quick to point out that other events are taking place this weekend in honor of King: at Cornerstone Family Worship Center in Washington, a celebration will be held Sunday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.; at Mt. Hebron Church of Christ, also in Washington, “Making the Dream a Reality” will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday; and Monday at 10:30 a.m., The Order of the Eastern Star will host a commemoration at the Masonic Lodge on Fifth and Respess streets, during which Southside High School student Corey Watford, will read her own words of honor in “Dare to Dream.”
Cornerstone Family Worship Center is located at 1918 West Fifth Street, Washington; Mt. Hebron Church of Christ is located at 210 West Sixth Street, Washington; Chocowinity Town Hall is located at 3391 U.S. Highway 17 South,