The United States Embassy in Banjul last Friday celebrated the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jnr's "I have A Dream" at a ceremony held at the Ambassador's residence in Fajara. As part of the celebration, a youth poetry contest was held were young people wrote poems or essays on the "I Have a Dream" speech of Martin Luther King Jnr. The two winners of the competition Sonia Sarre and Mariama Kah were awarded certificates.
According to the American Ambassador, Edward Ned Alford, this is the first youth poetry contest that the embassy has ever organised in honour of Martin Luther King Jnr. and they intend to make it an annual event. He explained that it was six weeks ago that he informed his staff that he wants Martin Luther King Day to be a second 4th of July, a second big national celebration of the embassy because Martin Luther King Jnr. exemplifies the impact that one person can have for the world. He said the American Civil Rights Activist stood for inclusion, democracy, and equal rights for all. He described the Gambia as a model for the world in terms of religious diversity and tolerance. He said the country is a place where religious differences are not only tolerated but also celebrated noting that it is an inspiration for the whole world. He stated that in America like in the Gambia, it is there diversity that makes their one union richer and stronger. "Diversity is a value shared by the two countries", he said
Ambassador Alford explained that Martin Luther King led the legendry March on Washington and proclaimed that "I have a dream". He called on all to work together, learn together and be at peace with our neighbours, noting that with this they will be able to be stronger.
A short video clip of Reverend Jesse Jackson was played and he stressed the need for people to learn to survive a path which they need to learn to live in as brothers and sisters.
Delivering Martin Luther King's I have a dream speech, John Charles Njie of the YMCA, he said "five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the emancipation proclamation. This momentous decree, came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak, to end the long night of their captivity".
Martin Luther King was an American clergyman, activist, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience. King has become a national icon in the history of American progressivism. He was born on January 15, 1929 and assassinated on April 4, 1968, the day after he wrote his "I Have a Dream Speech".
Foroyaa will give a more extensive coverage of the remembrance day in subsequent editions.