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|Messenger photo by Rachel Scofield
|Ohio State University student ChiMere Sullivan performs a Lethargic Dance at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity day Celebration hold Jan. 19 in the Reynoldsburg Municipal Building.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "I have a dream ... little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."
On Jan. 20, that dream of unity was to be realized when Barack Obama, the son of a black Kenyan father and a white mother from Kansas, became the 44th president of the United States, Bruce Sowell told the crowd gathered to celebrate King's birthday.
"'Free at last!' has changed to 'Yes, we can!'" Sowell said.
Sowell helped organize the Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Day Celebration on Jan. 19 at the Reynoldsburg Municipal Building.
The keynote speaker for the event was Apostle Maurice Broomfield of Power and Glory Ministries. Broomfield spoke on how King's dream has been realized.
On Aug. 28, 1963, King told those gathered on the Washington mall, "In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the 'unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.' It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked 'insufficient funds.'"
Broomfield said today blacks can cash the "check" to pursue happiness. He realized the dream for himself and his mother seven years ago when he moved into his new house in Pataskala.
Having won the American dream for himself, Broomfield said he would help others in Reynoldsburg reach their goals.
After he concluded his message, three men were awarded for help they have already given, Pastor Jerome DeCarlo, Reynoldsburg police officer Tony Hines, and local philanthropist Bob Martin.
"We honor them for their service," Sowell said. "You see them every day and don't know who they are. They slipped under the radar and we never had the opportunity to say 'hello, thank you.'"
DeCarlo originated the Unity Day festivities on a dare five years ago.
"Doing what's right is a thankless job," DeCarlo said. "It's wonderful when people take time to say 'thank you.'"
Hines said to be recognized by the people of Reynoldsburg meant more than his arrest record or accolades from the city's elected officials.
"I want to say 'thank you' and 'I love you' to the people who formed this officer into a gentleman," Hines said.
The service organizations to which Martin, a 1977 Pickerington-graduate, belongs are too numerous to list, but they include the Reynoldsburg Chamber of Commerce and the Lions Club. He has also been involved with the Tomato Festival.
"I don't know how he balances that whole plate," Sowell said. "He always has a big smile on his face."
"You only get out of life what you put into it and what you are willing to give back," Martin said.
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