Unfinished business: The work of Dr. King ongoing, speaker says

Published 12:53 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2024

By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

There’s some unfinished business that needs to be done.

And while going to church and walking with the Lord is an important part of this business, it can’t all be done inside of the church walls.

That was the word from N.C. Sen. Paul Lowe at the annual Davie NAACP  Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration on Monday at Cedar Grove Baptist Church.

Also the pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, Lowe referenced King’s book from 1966, “Where Do We Go From Here?”

“Some of the things we are still fighting for, 50 years later,” he said.

“Affordable housing, unfinished business

“Educational disparity, unfinished business.

“Income inequality, the working poor, unfinished business.

“Access to health care, unfinished business.

“Environmental justice, unfinished business.

“Racial discrimination, unfinished business.

“Police brutality, unfinished business.

“A poor transportation infrastructure, so those without a car can get to work, unfinished business.

“Substance abuse, unfinished business.

“Job opportunities for everyone, some folks are the last to be hired and the first to be fired, unfinished business.

“Food insecurity, unfinished business.

“Gang violence, unfinished business.

“Mental health services, a lot of folks are just losing it, unfinished business.

“Access to technology, unfinished business.

“Civil rights for everybody, unfinished business.

“Child care availability so people can go to work, unfinished business.

“Urban planning that doesn’t exclude but includes all of us, unfinished business.

“That’s a whole lot of stuff, this unfinished business,” Lowe said. “Still, we have some of the same problems … and we’re dealing with what I like to call ‘unfinished business’. These are some things we need to move forward. We must find unique and creative ways to keep the dream alive.”

While it’s great to carry on and get excited about the Lord in church, much of this work will have to be done outside it’s walls, he said.

“Jesus did all of his work not on the inside of the synagogue, but on the outside. It’s good to come to church, but when we get through shouting, there’s work to be done. That is the only way we can continue the dream of Dr. King and bring that dream into reality.”

People need to do three things to help keep King’s dream alive, Lowe said.

“Register and vote. People ask me what’s going on in Raleigh (state legislature) and I tell them, ‘Whatever you think it is, it’s worse.’ We have to make sure our votes are counted so we can move the dream forward. “If you go to the polls, carry somebody with you and make sure they have an ID, then go and vote.”

The second thing, Lowe said, is for people to stop tearing each other down. “You can’t make the dream come alive if you’re busy tearing somebody down. We can’t spend time tearing one another apart. Let’s lift one another up.”

Having faith in the Lord is the third thing people must do to keep the dream alive. “Whatever you do, do it in the name of the Lord. While you’re working on unfinished business, go in the name of the Lord.”

Lowe said when you hear things like “our democracy is being challenged,” the ones who suffer are people of color and the poor.

He told the story of a fellow legislator who pleaded that the word “Jesus” not be used during opening prayers for legislative sessions. It happened to be his day to give the prayer.

“When you get a black Baptist preacher … we may not do everything Jesus said … but we love us some Jesus,” he said.

The day included keyboard and drum music, and songs from the Cedar Grove choir led by Carlos Davis, minister of music. Dr. Marion Franks, pastor, welcomed the crowd to Cedar Grove, and the Rev. Saundra James (associate pastor) read scripture. The Rev. Ervin L. Hannah, pastor at Erwin Temple CME, offered a prayer.

Robert Woody led a litany of remembrance, and the Rev. Coker Stewart, Davie NAACP president, introduced the speaker.

The Rev. Dr. Roy L. Dennis Jr., moderator of the Rowan Baptist Association, said: “We’re still running that race today. The dream is not over.”