By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The dream is still alive.
That’s the message delivered at the 26th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Service in Tupelo on Sunday.
Guest speaker Juanita Floyd, vice president of finance and administration at the CREATE Foundation, gave a rousing, tear-filled speech that covered her belief in education, the importance of loving one another, her childhood memories of bullying classmates and her mother’s encouragement.
King’s dream is alive and well, and it’s one we should all strive toward, she said.
“The dream was and currently is the education of our people and our children,” Floyd said.
She listed off a number of black doctors, teachers, lawyers and ministers in Tupelo and the area and said, “With the power of an education, as you can see, the sky is the limit.”
Loving each other and wanting the best for everyone of all races are not black or white goals, but goals for everyone.
“We have to make sure the slaves, the sharecroppers and Dr. King did not bleed, dream or die in vain,” she said. “I challenge you to be involved. I encourage you to love each other.”
As she closed her speech, she had three questions for her audience:
“Will you help educate all children? Will you vote? Will you love each other regardless of the color of their skin?”
The Committee for King, which presents the King commemorative events, gives the Drum Major Award to citizens who stand up for King’s beliefs.
This year’s recipient of the Drum Major Award is Tupelo’s Mack Arthur Turner, who worked alongside King in the Civil Rights movement. He’s also the president and founder of United Brothers and Sisters Organization.
The commemorative service also included performances by the MLK Jr. Commemorative Choir and area church drill teams.
King memorials conclude today with a birthday celebration.
It begins with a motorcade leaving the VF Outlet Mall at 11 a.m. and heading toward the St. Paul United Methodist Church in Tupelo. Dr. Jeffery Gladney will speak at the church at noon.