King tribute: 'Have we lost sight of the vision?'

“Have we lost sight of the vision?” the Rev. Dr. Lindsay E. Curtis asked during the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ceremony, held Sunday at Milford City Hall.

The ceremony, which included music, dance and speeches, focused on King’s legacy. Speakers said that today, perhaps more than in prior years, there is a need to continue working to create the kind of unified country that King envisioned.

In addition to speeches, the ceremony included songs and dance by the Bridgeport Boys Choir, the First Baptist Church Youth Dancers and the Foran Advanced Vocal Ensemble.

Twelve-year-old Ajibola Tajudeen, a member of the Bridgeport Boys Choir, brought the house down with his powerful “Take Me to the King.”

During an invocation, Peggy Moales, a member of The Links Inc., which sponsors the annual ceremony, offered a prayer that narrow-mindedness be battled, and people move forward despite obstacles.

The upcoming inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump was not overlooked during the more than hour-long ceremony. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal took to the podium, promising that he will continue to fight for the Affordable Care Act, even as Republicans are moving on Trump’s plan to dismantle the program once he is in office.

The senator said he is proud to have served under President Barack Obama.

“He was not only the first African American president, he will go down as one of our great presidents,” Blumenthal said. “Not just because he brought us the Affordable Care Act and not just because he kept us out of war and not just because he restored our economy and not just because he championed a number of secio and economic policies that are so important to all of us as Americans. But because he served in office with a dignity, and grace, and modesty, and caring, and intelligence that we deserve.”

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro told the packed City Hall that Americans can’t rest now, but must keep pushing to make King’s vision a reality.

“We cannot rest because economic inequality disproportionately affects African Americans,” she said. “We cannot rest because senseless killings threaten a new generation of African Americans. We cannot rest because rhetoric motivated by hate seeps into our politics to this day.”
And keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Lindsay E. Curtis, president of the Connecticut State Missionary Baptist Convention and pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Norwalk, continued the message, asking if America has lost sight of King’s vision.

There is division, he said, “Especially in this presidential transition climate.” He said Dr. King dreamt “that we would sit down and gather at the table of brotherhood.”

Hopes were high among the black community after the election of Barack Obama: Curtis said, “After the winning of a president of color, where hopes were high that the racial divide would be greatly narrowed, only to have the opposite take place.”

He said there is still poverty, homelessness is at all-time high, and “equal education is still not equal.

“The rich continue to get richer at the expense of the poor,” Curtis said.

But his message was that even though King’s dream may not be a reality now or in this lifetime, people have to continue to work to create it.

“This is one reason we need not fear a Trump presidency,” Curtis said.

“God is still on the throne. The solution will come in God’s time.

“If we never spoke up, we'd better be speaking up these days,” he said.