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The origin of the dream
Community pays tribute to Dr. King
kids last 1
Above, Seth Lynch, Shamar Lamar and Jonathan Conyers eagerly await candy being distributed during Mondays Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade in Springfield. For more from Mondays events, visit - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

As Gregory Brunson looked around the room at the Effingham County administrative complex, he took note of what he saw and let those in attendance know — blacks and whites seated next to one another.

Brunson was the keynote speaker for Monday morning’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Observance breakfast, sponsored by the MLK Committee and Local Organization for Voters’ Equality.

“We have come a long, long way,” said Brunson, pastor of Rincon’s Church of the Harvest. “Many of us grew up on farms, and we have seen our children able to enjoy a standard of living higher than ours. It is very important that the dream is still alive. I believe, and I hope you agree with me, and that’s the origin of the dream is not of this place.

“The power of a dream does not lie within its contents,” Brunson said, “but in the origin of the dream.”
Brunson said though it is called King’s dream of equality, he sees it as a vision.

“He was not just a clergyman. He was not just an activist. He was not just an educated man, and he was not just a Renaissance individual,” Brunson said of the late civil rights leader and preacher. “He was also a prophet and given a glimpse of that which was to come.”

The origin of the dream, Brunson added, provides the fuel for that dream.

“It was the fuel past the discrimination of the 1950s and the fuel past the boycotts in Alabama,” he said. “Those things powered by his dream came from a source far above him. It lives today because we see blacks and whites sitting together at the same table.”

Dr. King said a dreamer wasn’t a seeker of consensus but rather a builder of consensus, Brunson noted.

“I’m glad today we have a man who stood on the ground he walked,” Brunson said of Dr. King. “When he said he saw a day where a man would not be judged by the color of his skin but rather by the content of his character, we see that today. His dream is still alive, some 44 years after his death.”

Though few African-Americans held any elected office during Dr. King’s day, now there are many serving at all levels of government, Brunson pointed out.

“It has moved generations to come to a place of recognition,” he said of Dr. King’s dream.

The MLK Committee also awarded its Trailblazer Certificate to George and Robyn Groce of the Effingham Habitat for Humanity.

The organization did not build any new homes last year, but it completed 14 major renovations.

“So we have 14 families who have a home that is a little warmer and a little drier,” George Groce said.

The Effingham Habitat also is participating in Repair Corps, an initiative to help veterans in need of major home repairs.