A dream united

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January 13th, 2012

Omaha, NE – Martin Luther King Jr. will be honored in many different ways this weekend, in celebration of his birthday, January 15th. The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance is bringing people together for its 28th annual community church service this weekend.

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People of various religious backgrounds united, then divided, into sopranos, altos, and tenor sections, filling a choir stand last Friday evening at Salem Baptist Church.

Organizers say up to 175 people will sing in the Unity Choir. (Photo by Angel Martin)

Janet Ashley is the music coordinator for the Unity Choir, which is a part of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, a group of local clergy men and women. She said she plans to have up to 175 people sing in the choir. Musical directors from across the city will lead the group in singing spirituals, anthems, and as Ashley says, many good old gospel songs. She said King’s dream is now a reality, and programs like this are evidence of it.

“Knowing that we, in our lifetime, had someone as important as Martin Luther King, who stood for what is right, and stood for the African American people, is very important to me,” Ashley said.

“I want my children, and my children’s children, to know … that you have a voice and that you can make a difference.”

This memorial is on the corner of 24th and Lake St. in North Omaha. (Photo credit Wikimedia Commons)

The service will take place at Salem Baptist Church in the heart of North Omaha, a majority-African American community that has struggled with poverty and violence. Ashley says knowing the history of how people united together in the past will help carry people into the future.

“It’s even more important today to really support unity,” she said.

“With everything that’s been going on (in the community), we need to really stand on the word of God,” she said. “Stand as a people and say enough, it’s time to put all this violence down and come together and do what we know is the right thing to do.”

The keynote speaker for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Program is Reverend Doctor Claybon Lea from California. The program starts Sunday evening at 6pm at Salem Baptist Church in North Omaha.

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