Monfredo: MLK, Jr. Breakfast Celebration… Spreading The Importance Of Love
Sunday, January 24, 2016
This week our city took the time to celebrate at Quinsigamond Community College the legacy of Dr. King who would have turned 87 on January 15th. It was the 31st annual community breakfast honoring this American legend and the event was again packed with a very diverse group of individuals. Speakers … Mayor Joseph Petty, President Gail Carberry of Quinsigamond Community College, Congressman Jim McGovern, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, State Representative Jim O’Day and Mable Millner of the City Manger’s Community Coalition Against Bias and Hate all did a great job in articulating the theme of the event … the spreading of love in your community. The host of the event was Mr. Robert Jennings, lead wrap around coordinator for the Worcester Public Schools.
The featured speaker of the day was Marie St. Fleur who is president and CEO of the Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children. She did a wonderful job reenforcing the need for all of us to reach out and make a difference in this community every day of the year as a tribute to Dr. King, Jr.
Beside being entertained by the outstanding singers from the New England Gospel Mass Choir, and from the Knights of Zion Belmont AME Zion Church, the Community Breakfast Committee led by Phil Niddrie and Nellie Toney had an essay, poetry and art contest for the children in the Worcester area. Over twenty five poems were selected, twelve art projects and four essay winners. The work of all students were outstanding.
The essay contest embraced the theme of giving back and here are snippers of what those winning essay students had to say …
“Love Lifts the Weight of Hate” by Alisionna Iannachione, a 10th grader at Holy Name High School… “ Since hate burdens the world, I will begin my journey of spreading love by beginning inside myself and training my mind to ponder on positive thoughts. Only a self-loving person will have the capacity to give love to another and that all stems from exhaling the negative thoughts of judgment, dislike, anger, and resentment from the mind… Because the mind has the power to be positive, I can exude this positive energy by using forgiveness and prayer as a way to take action…. Instead of wishing revenge on those who wrong me, I ask God to touch them and help them to know love…We can be the light in someone else’s darkness by simply giving a smile or making someone laugh. If everyone committed to change and tried to make one person laugh a day, imagine how many laughs there would be – around seven billion… we as a people can transform the world from the inside out, one person at a time.
“It’s a Choice” by Rachel Dao, a 12th grader at North High School…Rev. King said that “ I have decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the answer to mankind’s problem.” There is no doubt that at several points in our lives we will get hurt and feel wronged but no matter how bad the situation is, it is no excuse to resort to hatred… Sticking with love means having the ability to look past our own pain in order to understand others and forgive them despite any circumstances. In doing so, the problem is not only peacefully solved but a message is sent that there never needed be a problem in the first place… The world can only become the better place that Rev. King, Jr. envisioned if we learn from each other and love without asking for anything in return….I hope that one day everyone will recognize the true value of love and its effects on others and rid themselves of any grudge they may hold. It is only through the work of a global community that Rev. Martin L. King, Jr’s words will become a reality.
“The Burdens of Hate” by Shamus Flynn, a 10th grader at South High School…Without making the conscious decision to accept love into our lives and to end the burden of hate, one can expect a destructive ripple effect emanating from ourselves, to our families and to our entire community…As Rev. Dr. King, Jr. implied; the burden of hate can be avoided if one decides to make the decision to choose love. The main thing that I can and what I will ask of everyone around me is to let love in… We need to pull back the curtains of fear and ignorance and let the rays of wisdom and humanity warm our hearts and open our eyes to the beauty of diversity. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” I accept as my duty to confront hate when I see it and make an appeal for understanding and love. I will be the vaccine that inoculates me, my family, and my community from hate. It begins with me.
“Agape Love” by Alexander Nedelescu, an 8th grader at St. Mary’s … When Rev. King was speaking of love, he spoke of agape love, the love for community and humankind. This strong love lets us believe and continue believing in a loving movement; like non-violence. It is a love that lets us believe that even in our enemies there is some shred of love that allows them to do good…. Hate is the opposite of love, breaking apart friendships and even communal unity. When a person shows hate to another it hurts the other person emotionally and diminishes the chance for friendship. We need love to survive because without it, our spiritual soul is empty … It is far better to look for the good in people and help to work together to make our world a better place. This is exactly what Rev. King, Jr. was talking about when he speaks of a powerful love…. Through Rev. King, Jr’s message about love I have learned a powerful lesson and through this life lesson I challenge myself to live a life not burdened with hate.
These are powerful words from our students so please share their thoughts with others. Dr. King, Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is “ What are you doing for others?” Let’s now put those words into action and make a difference in our community.
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