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Keeping the faith

A member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Praise Dancers performs during Monday’s ceremony at the President’s Hall. - Photo by Charlie Bermant
A member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Praise Dancers performs during Monday’s ceremony at the President’s Hall.
— image credit: Photo by Charlie Bermant

About 500 people gathered Monday morning to honor and celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. It was the 11th annual gathering to take place at the President’s Hall.

From a dais that included city, county and religious leaders, Rev. Dennis G. Payne II of Bremerton’s Ebenezer A.M.E. Church, likened King to Jesus Christ and Mohandes Gandhi in his desire to serve humanity. And it is this characteristic King’s followers should emulate.

“We will not overcome until we learn to serve others and not ourselves,” he said.

Payne used the towel as a metaphor for this action, saying it’s more effective to carry a towel around at all times than a weapon.

“We need to pick up the towel, not for ourselves but for others,” he said. “We need to pick up the towel to fight for justice. It is the towel of compassion and concern.”

And this act needs to be proactive rather than reactive.

“Why do we have to wait until someone is in trouble before we pick up the towel?” Payne asked.

He began quietly but soon shifted into full preacher mode, tossing out small towels to the audience during the speech’s emotional climax.

Payne’s keynote was preceded by remarks by several government and religious leaders.

“The opportunities provided to us by Dr. King obligate each of us to act,” Central Kitsap Commissioner Patty Lent said. “The spirit and style of Dr. King’s action will continue, and we can shape his vision to create our grandchil-

dren’s reality.”

Rev. Shermella Garrett warned, “It’s important for us to participate in the

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