Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 25th annual commemorative celebration

By: J. Werner
| Published 01/17/2013

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THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- The community will pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the man who led the civil rights movement almost a half century ago, this Monday, January 21. The 25th annual commemorative celebration will take place at noon at The Woodlands United Methodist Church on Lake Woodlands Drive.

Master of Ceremonies will be Roche Colman, Th.M., Senior Pastor of Impact Church. A commemorative tribute will be presented by Dr. Paul Cannings, Senior Pastor of Living Word Fellowship Church.

The day coincides with the inauguration of the second term of our country’s first black president. No doubt there are still those who express shock and awe at this feat…that someone from a minority race could rise to the highest office in the land. In fact, the black race is really no longer a minority race in our country, given the size of the black population that voted in the past few elections.

But the effort to strive for racial equality was a long and arduous path. Present at the service on Monday, will be one of the celebration committee members, Rita Wiltz, who reflected on the desegregation effort in Montgomery County during the Civil Rights movement in the 60s.

“I had the privilege of being on the Freedom Tour that went through seven southern states during that period. I participated in marches to bring about equality and diversity,” said Wiltz. “On that trip I had the opportunity to tour the home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was such a moving experience that it inspired me to come back to Montgomery County and put forth the effort for a desegregated community.”

Wiltz has been a community activist ever since, not just by participating in programs like the Commemorative Celebration to honor a great legacy for the black race, but advocating for literacy to improve the lives of impoverished children with her Children’s Books on Wheels, a breast cancer advocate for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and starting an initiative to aid low-income families with tax preparation services. Her efforts have earned her honors like the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Award which recognizes unsung heroes…a honor she’s more than earned.

It’s this kind of grass roots effort that has enabled our country to become rich in ethnic diversity, but Wiltz admits that it didn’t come quickly. Surprisingly, because Americans have a proud history of accomplishing amazing feats in short time frames. Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine in seven years. The United States landed man on the moon and returned him safely to Earth in the same time frame. Given the expediency with which our society moves to accomplish its objectives, one has to ask… “Why did racial equality take forty-four years?”

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