MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. CELEBRATION EVENTS
Today — Community Worship Service: 7 p.m. Grace Episcopal Church, 20 Belvoir Ave. The Rev. Timothy Careathers, pastor of Westside Baptist Church, will speak.
Thursday — Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth Annual Disproportionate Minority Task Force Conference: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Second Missionary Baptist Church, 2305 E. Third St.
Saturday — Annual prayer breakfast: 9 a.m. Second Missionary Baptist Church, 2305 E. Third St. Maj. Al Newsome, Salvation Army area commander, will speak.
Sunday — Dr. King's Birthday Party: 4 p.m. New Zion Baptist Church, 809 E. M.L. King Blvd. Darrell S. Freeman, CEO of Zycron Inc., will speak.
Monday — 20th Annual Peace, Love and Unity Service: 11 a.m. Memorial Hospital Community Room, 2525 De Sales Ave. Dr. Clark Taylor, chief executive officer of Hospice of Chattanooga and former CEO of Memorial Hospital, will be the keynote speaker.
Monday — Memorial March: 4 p.m. From Olivet Baptist Church, 740 E. M.L. King Blvd., to Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St., followed by the main program at 5 p.m. at the Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St. The Rev. Paul McDaniel will speak.
There is too much violence in this community, and while there is no simple solution, the answer is rooted somewhere in the past, the Rev. Paul McDaniel asserts.
"We have developed and grown this sort of attitude, this sort of behavior," said McDaniel, president and founding member of the Unity Group. "Children are not born with that behavior pattern, this sort of behavior is learned. We have to go back. I don't know how far, but we have to dig. We have to seek the source."
McDaniel will share his message as keynote speaker for the Unity Group's 42nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Celebration, set for Monday at the Tivoli Theatre.
Events today begin with a community worship service at Grace Episcopal Church and culminate Monday with the annual march that starts at Olivet Baptist Church and ends at the Tivoli.
The final event commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. is scheduled a little more than a week after 23-year-old Demarcus Husband was found dead less than a mile from Second Missionary Baptist Church, where McDaniel is pastor. A 14-year-old and a 19-year-old also were shot at different locations on the same night.
Twenty-five people were killed in Chattanooga in 2011, including a 4-year-old boy who died after a severe beating and a 15-year-old girl who was stabbed in the chest during a street brawl among a group of women.
"It's hard to imagine all of the killings that have gone on in the past year," McDaniel said. "The question is: Do we have the strength of will to do what we need to do?"
Quenston Coleman, chairman of the M.L. King event on Monday, said he hopes the annual celebration will inform youth about the sacrifices for equality made for them during the Civil Rights movement.
"They grew up at a time when all of the rights were there for them to enjoy, so they don't see the sacrifices made on their behalf," Coleman said.
Coleman plans for the front of the M.L. King Celebration program to include a photo of a poster that reads "Somebody paid the price for your rights. Register to vote."
"(Young adults), they're not cashing in on the sacrifices because they're not voting," Coleman said.
McDaniel is among people who have fought for equality.
He sued to be a member of the 1977 Tennessee Constitutional Convention, which established the county commission form of government in the state.
He served as a Hamilton County commissioner from the commission's formation in 1978 to 1998 and was chairman five times.
McDaniel was a freshman at Morehouse College when King was a senior at the school. Both were studying to be ministers.
McDaniel said he and King had similar backgrounds -- they both were exposed early in age to church; they both had pastors as fathers; they were taught to seek excellence, to help people and to be concerned about others.
Some youth now are growing up without those privileges, McDaniel said.
It is important that people who have good leadership skills be role models to youth, he said, and even when it seems the message of love and leadership isn't being communicated, to keep trying.
"We can't just give up," McDaniel said. "We've got to be good examples and we have to create a community where we respect the other person."
Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...