The church program included prayers, musical selections by the Flipper Chapel AME Church male choir, a proclamation presentation by Milledgeville Mayor Pro-Tem Denese Shinholster, recognition of elected officials and keynote speaker Richard Ramsey.
“[Dr. King] was a good man. He not only had a vision, but a great vision; a vision so powerful that no average man could comprehend,” said Ramsey, founder of the club Lifelong Solutions for Male Students. “This community has to come together for the sake of our future. Our children may be 20 percent of our population, but they are 100 percent of our future. We have to bridge the gap by loving each other.”
Before the closing selection of “Lift Every Voice,” Georgia College President Dr. Steve Dorman provided closing remarks.
“My friends, let me tell you. I’ve only been here five months, but I am awake and I am ready to work. I’m ready to bridge the gap,” Dorman said. “As Dr. King said, ‘It’s time to do what is right.’ Let’s work passionately to rid our town of racial injustice. We can weave together a beautiful new garment of destiny. Let’s bridge the gap.”
For Milledgeville native Chiquita Davis, coming back to her hometown 33 years later and experiencing the community’s togetherness awakened her to giving back.
“It’s amazing to see how things have changed since I’ve been gone. It’s wonderful to see people of all different nationalities,” she said after the church program. “I think [the service] makes people think about where we came from and where we are going.”
A community cookout was held at Huley Park featuring food, music, vendors and a social justice panel discussing community and social issues.
“This was the first time we’ve ever tried something like this. I think it added another element to the cookout and allowed people to put things in perspective about Dr. King’s legacy and realizing action has to be made,” said Emmanuel Little, chair of the MLK planning committee. “The panelists talked about Georgia College and community relationships, and everything from domestic violence to mass incarceration. This was definitely a step in the right direction.”