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Norine Dworkin/VoxPopuli

Local pastor celebrates MLK, Jr., says fight for civil rights isn't over (Part 2)

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Norine Dworkin

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Founding Editor

It was late morning and still a bit brisk in the shade on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day when an appreciative crowd  gathered in front of Winter Garden City Hall to listen to Pastor Anthony Hodge deliver an impassioned performance of the late Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech from the steps.

With Mayor John Rees and City Manager Mike Bollhoeffer  attending, Pastor Hodge, founder of Finding the Lost Sheep Ministry, was introduced by District 3 City Commissioner Mark Maciel

“This speech has resounded so much in my home,” joked Pastor Hodge before he began, “that my baby has begun to say Thank you, Lord, Amen.

Dr. King originally delivered his famous speech before a crowd of 250,000-plus on Aug. 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Given at the height of the Civil Rights movement as the Kennedy Administration was trying to pass the Civil Rights Act (ultimately signed by President Johnson in 1964), this speech is considered a hallmark of the movement.

Dr. King’s words, channelled through Pastor Hodge, remain potently relevant today. They ring true after a summer of historic Black Lives Matter demonstrations, protesting police brutality. They ring true after a shameful attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election, predicated on disenfranchising Black voters in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan. They ring true after President Trump provoked an armed white supremacist attack on the Capitol in an attempt to take the government by force.  

Dr. King's words echoed through time as Pastor Hodge's thunderous voice filled the space in front of City Hall: 

“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.”

Can I get an Amen? 

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