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Charles NAACP salutes MLK, gets new members


Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry visits with North Point AFJROTC students at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast.

Waldorf, MD - Hundreds came to Charles County’s North Point High School Monday, Jan. 21 to be part of a 24-year-old tradition. The annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast is a huge production spearheaded by the Charles County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The keynote speaker, veteran radio talk show host Joe Madison, who was involved administratively with the NAACP prior to his broadcasting career, observed how several NPHS Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) and culinary students were in the school’s gymnasium helping with the event’s hospitality.

Prior to the second part of the morning’s program, the students gathered in front of the stage to receive applause from attendees. “Sometimes you’ve got to do more than applaud young people,” said Madison, who noted the average age of a Charles County NAACP Branch member is 56. Stating that the annual membership fee for a junior member of the NAACP is $10, Madison pledged $100 to provide 10 memberships for youths who wanted to join. He asked others in the audience to also make contributions. By the time Madison had completed his lengthy keynote address, $2,900 had been collected. “We have to acknowledge these young people need our guidance,” said Madison.

The program included displays of talent, such as Janai Jamison of the College of Southern Maryland singing the Star-Spangled Banner and Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing; and devotional songs performed by the Rev. Antione J. Hutchins and Christian Unity Baptist Church. Author and performer Miss Kaine presented an original poem for the event.

There were also speeches, many of a political nature. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer [D-MD District 5] said if King were alive today he would demand that leaders in Washington, DC “open up the people’s government.” Hoyer stated that while great strides in racial equality have been made in the last half-century, “it’s not enough. We must stand up for justice and equality for a better America, a more inclusive America.” Hoyer said as the world marks what would have been King’s 90th birthday, the Civil Rights leader is honored, “not for his victories but for the sacrificial commitment to his vision.”

“We have to end this unnecessary and shameful government shutdown and we need to end it now,” said U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen [D-MD]. Noting how unpaid federal workers adversely affected both government and non-government agencies, Maryland’s junior senator said the month-long shutdown was “nothing to be proud of. This is a time of great stress and great challenge. Dr. King warned us it wasn’t always going to be easy.”

Madison, the outspoken host of a talk show on Sirius XM’s Urban View channel, also took the Trump Administration to task. “Nowhere in the White House is Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday being celebrated,” said Madison, who also expressed outrage of recent comments made by Vice President Mike Pence. Pence, appearing on a Sunday morning television talk show, stated that King “inspired us to change through the legislative process to become a more perfect union. That is exactly what President Trump is calling on Congress to do.”

“Dr. King was not about building walls,” said Madison. “He was about tearing walls down.”

Earlier in the program, Charles County NAACP Branch President Dyotha R. Sweat spoke to attendees. “We now see the ugliness of racism everywhere,” said Sweat. “We need to find the courage to talk about the things that matter. We’ve still got work to do.” She asked members young and old to work together going forward.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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