Packwood Community Presbyterian Church held a gathering and march to honor and remember Martin Luther King Jr. and his message of equal treatment for all Americans, on this year’s MLK Day.
The event was organized by Pastor David Germer of Packwood Community Presbyterian Church and was held at the church on Monday morning from 10 to 11 a.m. The event attracted a group of about 20 people of all ages from the Packwood area. Germer started the event by playing a video of Dr. King giving the famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” said Dr. King near the close of his speech given in Washington D.C. in 1963.
The Packwood group marched on the side of U.S. Highway 12 with signs in hand, waving at each passing car and semi truck and receiving the occasional honk in support.
Pastor Germer said that when he lived in San Antonio, Texas he participated in the MLK march annually with 300,000 other people. Germer said that the experience was powerful and he wanted to bring some of that experience to Packwood, where he has been a pastor for about a year and a half now.
“I saw people across so many different dividing lines come together and they were all captivated by who Dr. King was and the unity he seemed to promise. It sounded exciting to us to offer this event in Packwood to show that there are people out here who are still captivated by Dr. King’s message,” said Pastor Germer.
A few people in attendance shared why he or she felt it was important to come to the march and honor Dr. King’s legacy.
Elysa Ray said that she feels that his message is still relevant in today’s world in many ways.
“We’re finding the odd, strange, and the foriegn and saying ‘that’s dangerous’... as Dr. King said, not judging someone by their color but it’s also about not judging someone by their difference — period. Difference should not be considered dangerous,” said Ray.
Some attendees prepared signs for the march which displayed photos of Dr. King and quotes by him.
Kevin Downing, another person who marched, said that since he is from Britain, MLK was not a part of the history he was taught and he wanted to learn more and participate in honoring Dr. King on this holiday.
Tracy Germer, Pastor David Germer’s wife, spoke about the importance of visibility within a community.
“I think it’s important for visibility to learn about how other cultures are experiencing America and how MLK’s words have affected them. It’s really powerful,” said Tracy Germer.
The Packwood Community Presbyterian Church MLK Day gathering and march was advertised on the church’s Facebook page, “this event is open to all. Family friendly, non-partisan, and welcoming of people from any or no faith tradition.” Pastor Germer said that he would like to hold the event annually.