To celebrate to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., First Baptist Church of Glenarden hosted an event entitled “The ABCs of MLK: Why Education Remains a Key Component of Dr. King's Dream.”
The event was hosted by WHUR radio and drew hundreds of people to the church’s main sanctuary in Upper Marlboro. The program was emceed by WHUR news anchor Molette Green.
“We are here to discuss importance of Dr. King’s dream,” said Patrick Ellis, the 35-year host of WHUR’s “Gospel Spirit” show. “Education is important, still vital and the key to unlocking success.”
The program started off with praise and worship by the FBCG praise team. Then, gospel singer, songwriter, music producer and choir director Donald Lawrence came to the stage to perform with the Tri-City Singers. The four-some had the crowd on their feet as they performed five songs, including his hit single “The Gift.”
“What an honor to honor someone like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Lawrence told the audience. “We got to have people that won’t jump ship when the storm comes. Dr. King had people that stick with him through thick and thin. We are celebrating Dr. King today, but just know that everybody has a king inside of them.”
For the main session, six panelists came to the stage to express their views on the importance of education and their personal experiences. The panelists included of seven-time Grammy nominated R&B singer Ledisi; 13-year-old entrepreneur and author Gabrielle J. Williams; and former NBA player Derek Anderson.
Ledisi, said she was told she would never be successful in show business because she wasn’t pretty enough, said she stayed motivated to reach her goal of becoming a professional singer.
“Find the good in everything you do,” Ledisi said. “We are always judging people, but they may need your help. Whatever your purpose is in life, use it to serve others.”
Williams launched her business “Jewelz of Jordan” at age 9. She then went on to write her bestselling book, “The Making of a Young Entrepreneur: A Kid’s Guide to Developing the Mind-Set for Success” at age 11.
“MLK is known for [stressing] education, but its also about serving,” Williams said. “They say don’t be a follower and be a leader, but until we see someone else lead, we can’t lead ourselves.”
Anderson’s mother left him at a young age and he did not see her for 28 years. Anderson moved from house to house throughout high school and got his girlfriend pregnant at the age of 14. Despite his circumstances, Anderson, who was senior class president, graduated at the age of 18 with a 3.7 GPA.
Last month, Anderson found his mother after 28 years. He took out for a Christmas dinner.
“I will not allow my children to learn a rap verse before they know a Bible verse,” Anderson told the crowd. “Everything bad that happened to me was my fault. Everything good that happened to me was because of God.”
The Rev. John K. Jenkins, FBCG’s pastor, closed out the event.
“I want to thank all the panelists who came out today,” Jenkins said. “The things you have said today have planted seeds in, not only the children, but the parents as well.”