The Community Coalition on Race organized a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday today with an interfaith, heartfelt service at Temple Beth El in South Orange. The event included great jazz music, speakers from virtually every faith and a special key note address from a South Orange resident and CBS New Correspondent.
It was said that Dr. King’s dreams, wisdom and eloquence endure today as our country still wrestles with the issues surrounding racial justice. As an organization, the CCR likes to celebrate our community’s incredible diversity and intentional integration as an example of how we can live, work, pray and socialize regardless of skin color, sexual orientation, religion or any other differences that divide some people.
Michelle Miller, an award winning CBS News Correspondent and South Orange resident, was the keynote speaker and she spoke passionately about remembering Dr. King’s voice and to remind us that we don’t need to be “colorblind,” but to embrace all colors and celebrate them.
Government officials in attendance included New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, Assembly Woman Mila Jacey, the new South Orange police chief, members of the South Orange Village Trustees; Steve Schnall, Walter Clarke and Deborah Davis Ford as well as Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca and Deputy Mayor – Kathleen M. Leventhal.
Friends and neighbors of South Orange and Maplewood heard about how far we have come, but how far we still need to go for every member of our country to enjoy total equality. It was poignant, moving, festive and delivered an incredibly relevant message.