Educate, liberate and mobilize.
Robert S. Harvey lives those words every day as superintendent of the East Harlem Scholars Academies in New York.
These words served as the theme for Reverend Dr. Martin Luther Jr. of the NAACP Lancaster’s 42 annual worship service: “The Dream: Educate, Liberate, Mobilize.”
Harvey was a guest speaker at the Sunday service, which was presented in partnership with Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Lancaster. A rise in COVID-19 cases led organizers to present the service virtually for the second year in a row.
An educator and minister, Harvey urged the faithful to “remain relentless in our discontent” and continue to push for racial equity.
He said he hopes those who listen to his message will gain “a willingness to become disgruntled enough to stay focused on proving justice, not doing justice.”
“Until we see in our hands what we see in our dream, we must remain relentless in our discontent,” he said.
NAACP Lancaster President Blanding Watson said the annual worship service is meant to honor King’s legacy, not only to recognize America’s progress, but also to commit to future growth.
Watson said that to keep King’s legacy alive year-round, Americans should ask themselves, “How does diversity and equity impact our daily lives on a small and large scale?” The answers, he said, should fuel the push for racial justice.
“No one, regardless of skin color, has escaped the damage of racial injustice in our community or our country,” Watson said. “Everyone, regardless of skin color, would benefit from fairness. It is not a zero-sum game. It is not the case that what is gained by one group is lost by another.
“We all win,” he said. “We are all part of a stronger community.”
Reverend John Knight, senior pastor of Bright Side Baptist Church in Lancaster, prayed for listeners to serve God and develop the king’s spirit during a time of polarization in the country.
Lancaster City Council Speaker Ismail Smith-Wade-El also spoke at the service, which included songs and spoken performances by Jamar Johnson, Frieda Roberson and Sir Dominique Jordan.