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MLK event: ‘We have to learn to live with each other in peace’

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Participants at the 19th annual prayer breakfast in Inglewood to honor Martin Luther King Jr. concurred that the work of the civil rights leader is yet to be completed.Keynote speaker Dr. C. Vanessa White told about 500 participants at St. Mary’s Academy that “we are living a spiritual death in our communities” that needs to be awakened through action and by passing the history of the ancestors to the new generations.“Our lives begin to end the day we're silent about the things that matter,” she said, borrowing a line from King.White told a story of a healer who helped people “rise and fly” after they had fainted. She paused while reading the story, so participants could repeat three lines — tell the story; share the word; stand for justice — that summarized King's dream of equality for all.“Martin Luther King came from a strong spiritual tradition,” she said, describing his work as “God-centered; community- and person-focused; and liberation-oriented.“When we are focused on the community, we are about liberation and justice,” she continued. “Liberation from sin moves the person and the community to action.” And she emphasized the stronger need of community work as societies become more interracial.“We have to learn to live with each other in peace,” she said. “To do justice you have to be rooted on the spiritual.”King's message and actions were based on the principle of loving others as yourself, noted White, who reiterated the importance of having balance in “reaching God, loving ourselves and in our concern for others.“Martin Luther King spoke of balance and he lived it,” she said. “As he did, we should we mentoring someone, but we have lost that ability, we are not telling the story.“Who are we mentoring in our church, in our societies? Who are we helping in our society? How are we listening to God?” she questioned. “We ask God, but we don't want to listen because we are afraid of what he is going to tell us to do.”In a tribute to the civil rights leader, Verbum Dei High School students Auston Taylor and Gregory Warner Jr. said that contrary to what many say, “The work of Martin Luther King is done, but is not yet completed.”They cited themselves as living examples of the fulfillment of part of his dream through education, admitting that much more needs to be done to reach equality for all. But they said there are signs of progress such as the election of the first African American president in whom, they said, they found inspiration to keep moving forward.“Today we can freely choose and attend any college,” they said.The annual breakfast opened with live-streaming of the presidential inauguration, followed by welcoming remarks from Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County supervisor and former teacher at Immaculate Heart High School, who noted “God's intervention in history” and the “moral imperative” of working for others.“It is nice to be able to come and hear adults telling the stories of what happened back then so we don't make the same mistakes,” said 13-year-old Brendan Wilkerson, a Transfiguration School eighth grader. “It's pretty nice to see adults from a diverse community celebrating our legacy.”“After watching President Obama,” said Verbum Dei junior William King, “it makes me think that I can accomplish any dream.”For information about the African American Catholic Center for Evangelization, call (323) 777-2106.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0125/mlk/{/gallery}

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