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Park Ave. Hosts Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration

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By Kristian Vasquez –

The Riverside Clergy Association (RCA) presented the annual community birthday celebration honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. last Sunday evening. The event was hosted by Park Avenue Baptist Church and sponsored by the RCA president Pastor Paul S. Munford. Andrina Campbell, daughter of Park Avenue’s pastor Larry E. Campbell, welcomed the RCA and the Riverside community who came out to support the event.

The theme of the evening was “United We Stand”. First to engage the theme was Pastor Earl Norwood who discussed the attributes of unity and what made Martin Luther King, Jr. a man of unity. Bishop Don Siler then gave a frank selection about the church’s role in unity. “If you want to see segregation,” Siler said “wait till Sunday morning.”

Finally Pastor Stephen Pierson ended the theme with a short discussion on continuing unity. “We are together because of our struggles,” Pierson concluded.

“The RCA… We are united.” Also in attendance was radio show host Edward L. Blakely who met King in Alabama during a demonstration in 1961 from the University of California Riverside. “It was that time that we thought we could make a difference in the world,” Blakely expressed.

He also gave a quote given from King that day which he felt was significant to him; “People are going to hit us with sticks… If they didn’t break our spirit, we can change the world.”

The RCA music coordinator Marvina “Cooky” Levy directed the MLK Family Mass Choir for the eighth year since the beginning of the RCA. They gave several selections throughout the evening including the National Negro Hymn “Lift Every Voice And Sing.”

In response to her choir’s performance, Levy stated:

“I’m blessed.” Her next concert will be given by a Black history music workshop featuring Fellowship Baptist Church Praise Team and will be held on February 26 at Park Avenue Baptist Church.

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