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Knights of Columbus remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Cove Leader-Press


Martin Luther King Jr. was born January 15, 1929 and this year would have marked his 90th birthday. Still, Dr. King’s legacy lives on. His words and his message and everything that he stood for are still heard today.

The Knights of Columbus held their annual Remembrance for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Saturday from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., with a dinner of burgundy beef and vegetables, red potatoes, green beans, and rolls with cake for dessert.

After the meal, Aya Fubara Eneli, the guest speaker, gave a speech about King and his legacy.

“[Dr. King] was pushing for everyone’s freedom…He said we have to take care of everyone,” said Jim French, a past Grand Knight. “We want to remember that freedom is important, and he was fighting for freedom…We’re lucky to be in a country that has people that do fight for freedom.”

“There’s still injustice. There’s still discrimination. You read about it all the time, and as a nation we’ve still got a way to go,” said Gary Kafer, district director for Rep. J.D. Sheffield, about why it’s important to continue to remember Dr. King. “A lot of progress has been made, but, as a nation, we’re not there yet.”

Eneli called upon her audience to become agents of change. Eneli is the CEO of Aya Eneli International and an attorney, two-time best-selling author, newspaper columnist, speaker, and more.

Eneli admitted that we have made some progress but asked the audience to question how much progress has actually been made. She spoke about the many issues that we continue to face today.

“I have not come here to tickle your fancy or to entertain you, I have come to speak truth,” she said. “Because only when we face the truth can we truly bring about change, and it’s about time that we had some real change in America.”

Eneli peppered her speech with quotes and facts. She talked about how the average person remembers the ‘feel-good’ part of King’s ‘I have a Dream’ speech, but he had a lot more to say. Eneli read a portion of King’s speech and then talked about how some of the issues he spoke about are still issues that we continue to face today. She spoke about how minorities, a significant number of the populace, continue to be denied opportunities.

“We’re constantly thinking about, really, ourselves, and how much I can gather for myself, and not really thinking, long-term, what is the impact of the choices that we’re making,” said Eneli. “We’re not thinking about the sustainability of the choices we’re making.”

She talked about cost of living and how some struggle just to provide for their families. Eneli talked about how as a nation we choose to spend more money incarcerating people than educating them. In the state of Texas, it costs $148,767 per year to lock up a juvenile, Eneli said. For the 2017-18 school year, Texas spent $10,456 per student which is more than $2,000 lower than the national average.

She asked the audience to look in the mirror and own these decisions. She said that it’s easier to look at Washington and point fingers and blame others, but we, as a nation, need to have the insight and the courage to stand up and become agents of change.

“After tonight…what are you going to do differently? What’s going to change…?” asked Eneli as she concluded her speech. “Ladies and gentlemen, it is up to you and I…We can be complicit in our inaction. We can be actively complicit by spearheading all the evil, hate, and greed. Or we can find the courage to stand up, knowing that it may cost us something. Knowing that, like Dr. King, it may even cost us our lives, but then what use is your life if you stand for absolutely nothing.”

After her speech, the entire room rose and gave Eneli a standing ovation. Members of the Knights of Columbus presented her with a bronze bust of Dr. King as a thank-you gift. As they filtered out of the hall, many chatted about Eneli’s message.

“I thought it was right on. I thought it was something that we all need to hear,” said Clementine Lewis about Eneli’s speech.

“I think it was very dynamic, eye-opening, and kind of inspiring…She spoke truth,” said Ira Brand. “I think it went very well…Everybody who missed it, they missed a treat.”


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