In a dynamic speech which had people rising to their feet, Patricia Blake told it like it was to the audience at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration held at the Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ Church on Monday.
In a dynamic speech which had people rising to their feet, Patricia Blake told it like it was to the audience at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration held at the Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ Church on Monday. “Life is about celebrating and remembering,” Blake, Prescott school board president, said. “Unless we remember that justice and equality is part of Martin Luther King's dream, we will lose our focus and our dream. “I'm afraid that we have forgotten the dream of Dr. King,” she continued. “We are like the children of Israel; blind. We must remember the dream, we cannot be asleep without a dream. “People complain that this world is not one that they grew up in,” she said. “We set no standards, we have no expectations of our students; in essence, we are asleep without a dream. “People are happy when their children can dunk a ball or run with a ball, but the student can't read, write, or do math,” Blake said. “If children are labeled as special education students, they will be labeled that through high school. “Parents, don't just go to school when you are angry and want to blame the teachers,” she said. “Go to school when there are parent/teacher conferences; take the time to go to school and talk to the teachers. Yes, sometimes it is the teacher, but investigate first. Care about your child's education. “Children and adults alike are on the streets with sagging pants,” she said. “If they only knew that the practice of sagging came from prisons, signaling between inmates that they are sexually ready for favors. And girls, take your sign down if you don't have anything for sale, because you will be treated the way you present yourself. “It's a sad thing, but children don't buy their clothes, their parents do, so if you want your children to succeed, give them a foundation,” Blake said. “We are on the border of the promised land, but we are asleep without a dream. Wake up and have a dream. Do it now.” The Master of Ceremonies was Vincent Wesley, president of the Black Historical Society. The Negro National Anthem was sung by the crowd and the welcome was given by Gwen Monk. The Rev. Mark Fischer gave the opening prayer and the Pentecostal Praise Dancers performed, to the delight of the crowd. Deborah Mitchell was next, with a verbatim performance of Dr. King's 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech. Sandra Jones read from a sermon Dr. King gave to his congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church just two months before his assassination. Bishop Johnie Jones, of the Providence Full Gospel Ministry Church, gave the offeratory prayer and the Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ Choir rendered a selection. Willie Wilson, an administrator at the Prescott Public Schools, introduced Blake as his “boss and Christian sister in the Lord.” Remarks were made by Louis Page, Rev. Mark Fischer, and the Rev. French Stroughter near the end of the program. Fischer came to the podium and told the crowd that prejudice was not only about race. “Try to be a Yankee coming to Hope, Arkansas,” he said, which got much laughter. “Seriously, Hope has a problem with segregated churches,” he said. “We need to all come together, to worship one God. That's what it's all about, one God. Dr. King had that dream and so should we.” The closing song was “We Shall Overcome,” and the celebration was dismissed. The awarding of a certificate to the host pastor, Elder Lavern Hicks, was made by Vincent Wesley, who presented it to James Turner, Hicks' representative.