One of the most prominent things that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about was his desire to have people of all races and backgrounds come together and looked upon as equals.

One of the most prominent things that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about was his desire to have people of all races and backgrounds come together and looked upon as equals.
So it was quite fitting that such a diverse audience showed up for the Milford/Lincoln Ministerial Association’s Service for Healing, Wholeness and Celebration in his honor on Monday afternoon.
King, who would have been 86-years-old on Monday, had his life celebrated with scripture, song and dance at Benjamin Banneker Elementary School.
Jason Dukes, from Milford, said the community was looking to King’s legacy of being a humanitarian and activist for old-time solutions for some of today’s problems.
“It was much needed,” Dukes said. “It was good to see people from different races come together for this celebration. It makes me feel good and should make the Milford community feel good.”
A large crowd filled the gymnasium and heard local preachers deliver some of King’s messages, including excerpts from his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech.
People joined together and sung old hymns such as “Lift Every Voice” and “We Shall Overcome,” in which the entire audience stood in unison and held hands. Pictures of King scrolled along on a screen behind the main podium.
“I thought it went really well and I’m just so thankful that everybody can come together and I just think this is a great event,” said Jean Wylie, president of the NAACP. “I just feel as though with the camaraderie we have especially in the community to show our support for each other that we’re really growing.”
Rev. Jeanel Starling was hoping to draw a diverse crowd that included all segments of Milford’s population. It appeared as if she achieved her goal.
“This is the best, most culturally diverse Dr. King service we have ever had in the city of Milford,” Starling said. “As we were planning it we wanted it to be culturally diverse because our Ministerial Association is made up of African Americans and mostly whites.
“We have made an effort to go out and get other pastors. We wanted Haitian, we wanted Latino, whoever, and you can see the diversity out here.”
MomentUM, the Avenue Youth Praise Band, played a couple of catchy contemporary Christian songs, the St. Paul Steppers stepped to the beat and the Angels Praise Dancers from Kingdom Worship Ministries received a standing ovation following their interpretative dance number.
In all, about 10 pastors joined in delivering messages throughout the one-long service.
“We need to take time to reflect on what God is doing in our midst right now and to reconcile ourselves to one another to continue to build strong, vital, healthy, wonderful, loving communities,” Rev. Tom Pasmore said. “That is what we are seeking today, to build a better future for us and for our children who are growing into this world.”
Starling said a couple of changes this year helped to make the service more attractive to people, moving from its normal 7 p.m. starting time to noon and also moving from a church to school setting.
“It’s about reconciliation and being proactive in things that we do,” Starling said. “We really wanted the young people involved. Dr. King was for all people and this has been a wonderful day and a great chance to celebrate his birthday.
“There is one thing for certain, the town of Milford came together today.”