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LaKenya Middlebrook Deliver UCMA MLK Commemorative Address: Stand at Attention.Drum Majors Are Needed
By Tammi McGowan, AHERN Staff Reporter - January 23, 2020

The Union of Churches & Ministerial Alliance, held its annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr  Commemorative Celebration on Sunday January 19th, 2020 at Faith Temple Church of God in Christ, a long-standing house of faith located in the heart of Morristown, TN. The 2020 theme, titled ‘The Dream Needs Some Drum Majors’, was presided over by Reverend Johnny Jones of Toney’s Chapel.

Evangelist Tina Mosley, UCMA Secretary and Associate Minister gave the Welcome and Statement of Occasion, she said that ‘we are in attendance of an auspicious occasion because Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream is in fruition and we are partakers’. She went on to explain that today we have freedom from the bonds and chains of oppression which crippled our nation during the Civil Rights Era. Evangelist Mosley encouraged the congregation to let love and freedom reign in their hearts and actions, so that our daily lives reflect the dream of King and the light of Jesus the Christ. Hamblen County Mayor, Bill Brittain gave a special greeting, highlighting that the year 2020 is the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Hamblen County. He posed the question, “Where’s our next generation of leadership?”, Mayor Brittain said, ‘Our future leaders must walk in humility, with a heart of servant leadership and a vision that is clear and focused. The UCMA Celebration Choir sang joyfully and brought many congregants to their feet with their soulful and spirit filled voices.

The highlight of the celebration was the afternoon’s keynote speaker, Ms. LaKenya L. Middlebrook, esq., first African American woman chair of the Knox County Democratic Party. Ms. Middlebrook was introduced by her father, Reverend Dr. Harold Middlebrook, Sr., who was a friend of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and an active member of the civil rights movement. Ms. Middlebrook, did not hold back on being matter of fact saying the life we live today is because of the sacrifices of our ancestors, she said ‘I am the manifestation of the imagination of my ancestors, I am fruit from the root I cannot trace and church is one place that I am most comfortable. I follow the walk of Christ in truth.  The practice of my faith overlaps with my work, which I define as the ‘Intersection of faith and social justice, and If truth be told, faith unleashed isn’t faith at all, it’s a fairytale.

Ms. Middlebrook, strongly stated that she is predisposed to see through the lens of her historical context, considering that our ancestors were taken by force from their native land, and stripped from all that was known to them. My people, your people, our people all herded together many different tribes and languages on ships that sailed across the seas with the precious cargo that built the North America we know today. The blood of our people can still be heard from the land where millions toiled day and night, working fields while enduring the whips that chased after them. The dream needs some drum majors that must bring forth change by demanding the dismantling of race discrimination, shutting down the system of chattel slavery disguised as mass incarceration.

Dr. King, insisted that a system must be created where change won’t be denied, though the emphasis on change has been directed toward our hearts and minds, we must now become the ones to fight the policies and laws, that impact us as well. It is true, that we are living the dream of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but with that dream there comes a double standard for the African-Americans, that says we must be exceptional to the one who controls the land before we are acceptable to the man. The dream is moved by the Drum Majors, those that are committed to pushing forth change. So, Drum Majors stand at attention, learn the issues, walk fearlessly and work with the purpose of not allowing America to slack.

The celebration ended with the presentation of the UCMA awards, Pastor of the year – Elder Ventrus Norfolk, Advocacy Award - Reunion of the Ages, Community Service Award - Esco Jarnigan and UCMA President Award – Ms. LaKenya Middlebrook, esq.

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