Spread The Word, Love Can Overcome

Salinans gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through words and song Sunday afternoon.

The interfaith community-wide celebration at the Christ Cathedral included performances by a community choir, and by jazz musician Galen Abdur-Razzaq.

The Very Rev. Robert Smith, the Dean and President / CEO of Saint Francis Community Services was the featured, and spoke about love.

Smith, known as Father Bobby, began by saying “we have lost our ability to be kind to one another.” He then reflected, and shared personal history in which love overcame hate.

Father Bobby said that he is a living example that Dr. King’s message that love can over come hate.  He shared a personal story that he said he had never publicly shared, and that he was not proud of.

Father Bobby shared that as a boy growing up in Centralia, Illinois, a vivid memory he has is of a burning cross in his uncle’s yard. The cross was the Ku Klux Kan’s way of honoring one of its members upon his death. And Father Bobby said that not only was his uncle a member of the Klan, but his grandfather expressed hate toward Dr. King.

Father Bobby said that he was not influenced by the hate, but rather by Dr. King’s message of love. “Love can overcome,” he said.

At one point Father Bobby called his daughter Avery, to the podium. He used her full name as she stood beside him, Avery Love Smith. “Love wins,” he said.

Father Bobby challenged everyone to build relationships, and learn how to love you neighbor a little more. “When we start and end with love, we can change the world,” he concluded.

Prior to Father Bobby speaking, Salina Mayor Jon Blanchard read a proclamation, and Emma Kelly and Julia Thornton presented a biography of Dr. King.

The event on Sunday ended with the entire congregation linking crossed arms and singing “We Shall Overcome”.

The Sunday afternoon celebration was the marquee event of  several days of celebration dedicated to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Friday night featured a jazz performance at the Smoky Hill Museum, and an open-mic presentation took place at Ad Astra Books and Coffeehouse. On Saturday an annual community potluck dinner was held.

On Monday, a service targeted toward youth will be held at St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church, 215 S. Chicago, beginning at 12 noon.

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