Arianna Burnett, foreground, and Stephanie Passmore rehearse Thursday night for Mission Ministry’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Arianna Burnett, foreground, and Stephanie Passmore rehearse Thursday night for Mission Ministry’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

MLK event emphasizes dreams, unity

While Pastor Fannie Dean thinks it’s important to remember and acknowledge the dream Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about at the Lincoln Memorial nearly 60 years ago, she’s also asking today’s children what their dream is.

Four young people will be giving their own “I have a dream” speeches at Sunday’s annual event to honor King at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at Mission Ministry Faith Center.

It will be the first time the event will be in the newly constructed church.

“I think it’s important for the young people too see what they dream of,” Dean said. “I saw myself building a church,” she later added, recalling what her dream was.

John Wen, 14, will talk about peace and equality, and 22-year-old Jeremiah Burnett will discuss fixing how people are treated around the country.

“It’s about taking that dream and capturing it,” Dean said.

There will be choral performances, dances and a children’s skit.

Debra Burnett, who’s in the choir, said she got involved because she thinks it’s important to pass on King’s message and remind people that many of the challenges Dr. King and his followers fought to overcome are still present today.

“They endured so we must endure,” Burnett said. “We still have the little ones coming up behind us. Need to show them if they want something, it’s worth working hard for.”

Dean agrees. This year, she’ll focus on the idea of never giving up “no matter what,” she said. And that, in the face of numerous obstacles, there’s strength in unity.

“My goal is to keep our city Oak Harbor together in unity,” Dean said.

She hopes people of all races will come and celebrate with the Mission Ministry congregation, she said. The event will also include recognition of black business owners in Oak Harbor.

Another celebration of the famed civil rights activist will take place at 3:30 p.m. at St. Augustine’s-in-the-Woods in Freeland.

“I’m hoping that we in this city don’t forget that there were sacrifices made to celebrate such a great weekend,” Dean said. “… It’s not just a regular holiday.”

• The Martin Luther King Jr. celebration takes place 3:30 p.m., Sunday Jan. 19 at Mission Ministry Faith Center, 1751 Goldie Road, Oak Harbor.

Starcia Cousar directs the children’s choir in a rehearsal for Sunday’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. event.

Starcia Cousar directs the children’s choir in a rehearsal for Sunday’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. event.

Arianna Burnett, left, Joshua Jackson and Stephanie Passmore will perform a dance at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.

Arianna Burnett, left, Joshua Jackson and Stephanie Passmore will perform a dance at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.

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