Community participates in 20th annual MLK Unity Walk
By PAMELA GRANT
Members of the community banded together, singing songs of unity and equality as they made their way down FM 116 on Monday afternoon.
The trek was part of Bible Way Missionary Baptist Church’s way of honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The 20th annual Unity Walk began at 1 p.m. at First Step Child Care Center and ended at the church with a special celebration service which began at 2 p.m. and concluded with awarding scholarships to five special teenagers.
This was the first time that the late Rev. S.D. McMullen did not make the walk since helping to bring the tradition into existence. The Unity Walk was McMullen’s brainchild. Pastor Will Jackson said that the walk was not only to commemorate Dr. King, it was also to commemorate the memory of McMullen and the positive impact the walk has had on the community. McMullen may not have been there physically, but he was in the hearts of many as they made their trek to the church.
“[My husband] started this 20 years ago. He had the same dream that Dr. King had—that we can all walk together hand in hand,” said Anne McMullen. “[This walk] is an outward expression to let Dr. Martin Luther King’s work continue.”
Throughout the walk, many remembered Dr. King’s message and filled their hearts with ideas of unity and equality.
“[Events like the Unity Walk] show that we as a nation can continue on even though we are by no means perfect. We still want to show that unity,” said Reverend George Blake. “I think it’s needed more so now than ever before. We need to show the world that if we, as Americans, say that we are the beacon of light, we can’t just talk it, we’ve got to show it.”
“Any time you talk about somebody that made fundamental changes to all levels of society you need to remember that, and not only remember it when it is commemorated, but as part of everyday living,” said Pastor Will Jackson. “Though people may be disenfranchised, the message of hope and peace can resonate in such a fashion that it can impact societies, it can impact families, and it can impact the world.”
After the walk, the church filled for the MLK Jr. Celebration Service. The service featured guest speakers including Representative J.D. Sheffield, Mayor Frank Seffrood, Coach Thomas Henderson, and Angela Lewis. Reverend Delvin Atchison was the special guest speaker for the event.
Atchison spoke on the topic of “Where do we go from here: chaos or community”, based on topics discussed in Dr. King’s book of the same name. His talk focused on the importance of a dream. He talked about a dream deferred and how many have simply settled on being average. He talked about how big Dr. King’s dream was and how if we just ask God and accept, we can dare to dream big.
Despite the negativity in the world, dreamers like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. can remind people that there is good and there is potential for positive change.
After the service, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Program awarded scholarships to five high schoolers.
Recipients were Copperas Cove High School students Marcus Ortiz and Kaylee Welch, Killeen High School student Crystal Graupman, Harker Heights High School student Ian Drake, and C.E. Ellison High School student Angel Rice.