With young students of Novato taking a participatory role, Novato kicked off its weekend celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday with its annual event at the Quest church on Saturday.
After a one-mile march from the police department to the church — a reminder of the emotional marches across the South during the Civil Rights era — a heartwarming ceremony took place in the church's sanctuary.
"Novato parents should be proud of their children," organizer Dee Boyd said. "If the youths who participated in our program are our future, we are in good hands."
Boyd said she was thrilled that the kids who showed off their talents also were able to watch the short documentary film titled The Barber of Birmingham by Novato filmmaker Robin Fryday. The Oscar-nominated film depicts the life of a man who's barber shop became almost a national historic site for the Civil Rights Movement.
With music from guitarist Jamin Reyes and words from Todd Marsden's class from Hamilton Meadow Park School, "The messages of our youth dedication and the rights we take for granted were the underlying themes presented in the film by Robin Fryday," Boyd said. "The foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement fought for all of us to have these rights, and when adults sometimes forget, we might need to take a look at our youth to remind us."
Pastor Joe Everly of the Quest shared the following words at the ceremony:
We are here tonight to remember a man. As I thought about it over the last weeks I wondered what set this man apart. I wondered what it actually is that we are remembering, celebrating this evening.
I realized that we are not celebrating Rev. King because of his strength of character, although he was a good man.
We are not celebrating him because of his strong personality and his great presence, although he did possess a remarkable ability to hold a crowd.
We are not celebrating his intelligence nor his wit.
We're not even here to celebrate the fact that this man was a man of color.
We are celebrating one thing, really. We are celebrating the fact that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. Now other men and women have had dreams in the past, but this dream captivates us for one simple reason: It was not only Rev. King’s dream; it was the very dream of God for humanity.
This is a very dangerous book. For decades men in pulpits just like this all over our country used it to prove that slavery was not only an option, but it was the way that it should be … it was a lie.
Dr. King's brilliance was that he spent enough time in the book, enough time with God to realize that this was not God’s dream for humanity and that the way the book was being used was not only wrong, it was immoral, and indeed it was Anti-Christ.
Whenever this book is used to give those in power more power and to use that power to act unjustly, we can be sure they do not understand the book.
This is not a book of power. It is a book of Love. And that is the genius of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Esquire. He knew God enough to know that God’s dream for humanity … and God’s dream for humanity was what Jesus taught us to pray for and to long for, could not be realized as long as one man owned another man.
Thy kingdom come, thy will done, is a prayer that many of us pray on a regular basis … that word will could better be translated dream. Bring about God’s dream for humanity — that is why we remember Dr. King. He caught God’s dream and made it his dream.
May God have mercy on us and may we catch the spirit of that dream today.