HATTIESBURG, MISS. - For over 30 years, residents in Laurel have come together to celebrate the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at their annual MLK Prayer Breakfast. Monday, Jan. 15 at 9am, residents reflected on Dr. King's dream and looked for ways that they can carry his dream forward.
“Today, we wanted people to be able to understand, the dream is not just an annual dream,” event speaker, Rev. Maurice McClendon said. “It's not just a gathering of events, but we wanted people to realize… to dream the impossible dream, and you will be able to achieve anything you put your heart and mind to.”
McClendon also said that the dream is not limited to just a certain group of people either.
“As long as God gives us breath, we're just going to continue to encourage, equip, and try everything that we can do to advance everybody,” McClendon emphasized. “Not just black people, but white people too because it doesn't matter who you are… that's part of the dream, that a man is a man. It doesn't matter what color you are.”
Residents in the City of Laurel reflected on message McClendon spoke to the audience Monday morning. Highlighting the importance of equality and growth amongst all people, as a whole.
“We don't want it to be misunderstood, that it's just a black dream, but it's a human dream,” Laurel resident, Jetuan Stephens said. “It's a Christ centered dream for all people.”
Which is the reason, why many residents say it is important for the community to have these kinds of memorials.
“The significance of them continuing to do this yearly, and do it this consistently for thirty years is that it’s a continued dream,” Stephen explained. “It's not something that just ends. It's something that we just continue to push forward towards… because in the end, everyone has a part to play.”
Later, to conclude the MLK Prayer Breakfast, residents put the MLK reef on display at the Jones County Court House.