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Keeping the dream alive

By CHARLIE BERMANT

Kitsap County writer

The 14th annual local celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday differs from its predecessors in two significant ways: Instead of an outside “expert” as in years past, the keynote speaker is a local pastor with strong community roots. And Dr. King’s vision, which has always had a theoretical flavor, is reflected in the reality of current events.

“We always quote Dr. King that the dream may not occur in our lifetime,” said Bishop Lawrence Robertson, president and pastor of Emmanuel Apostolic Church in Bremerton, who is this year’s featured speaker. “But the possibility that gender and race are playing a real part in this year’s election shows that his dream is coming to pass.”

Robertson said he is not telling anyone to vote for either Sen. Hillary Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama, but their popular support signals change.

“You look at Iowa, where most of the people are Caucasian,” Robertson said. “That Obama was able to get most of those people to vote for him is directly related to Dr. King’s vision. Neither one (Obama or Clinton) may get the nomination, but they are being taken seriously.”

“These are exiting times,” he said. “King was prophetic. And this year’s celebration of his birthday is more powerful, and different. It is pregnant with hope. This is a direct result of the contributions that he made. The things that are happening today are because of his ability to articulate his vision and advance it in order to cause these changes in America.”

The event, which is sponsored buy Ebenezer AME Church in Bremerton, takes place from 10 a.m. to noon at the Presidents Hall at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.

In addition to several speeches from elected officials there will be performances from a community choir and a liturgical dance team.

For more information call (360) 373-1063.

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