By Terry Rogers
On Monday, January 18, Milford residents gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a Benjamin Banneker Elementary School. The event was co-sponsored by the Milford Area Ministerial Association and the Milford Interdenominational Ministers Alliance.
“This annual event is designed to honor the legacy and life of Dr. King,” said Tom Pasmore, chairman of the Milford Area Ministerial Association and the senior pastor at Avenue United Methodist Church. “It is an event intended to help us come together as a community and show that there is strength in our diversity.” More than a dozen churches and local officials participated in the event.
The ceremony, which was called “Lift Every Voice,” featured dance, music and guest speakers who shared messages that Dr. King carried throughout his life. Rev. Pasmore said that the service this year was one of the best, with a higher attendance and a positive energy from the audience and the participants.
“We feel as if the program provided an insight into how our differences can actually work well together,” Rev. Pasmore said. “In a country that is increasingly divided by race, we want to show that our community sees cultural differences as a way to learn more about others. We want to show that Milford doesn’t look at our differences as negatives, but looks for ways to use those differences in a positive way.”
Rev. Pasmore said that the Martin Luther King celebration is only one of the events planned throughout the year to encourage unity in the community. On the first Thursday in May, the Milford Area Ministerial Association sponsors the National Day of Prayer. He said the event was held last year in Bicentennial Park and was a huge success, with live music and spiritual messages. There is also a community service held on the Sunday before Thanksgiving that is designed to bring multiple cultures together.
At the service, money was collected from those in attendance for the Milford Area Ministerial Association Scholarship. The scholarship is a $1,000 gift given in memory of Dr. King.
“Each year, the scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior who plans to promote education that will help society get past problems related to diversity,” Rev. Pasmore said. “The scholarships is open to anyone who wants to apply, not just Milford High School seniors. Students do not have to be any particular race, but they must complete an essay explaining how they would live in the ideals of Martin Luther King. We review the essay closely and choose recipients who we feel best promote the ideals Dr. King held dear.” One scholarship is given each year, although if there is enough funding, the group may award more than one.
Dr. Pasmore said that money for the scholarship comes from collection at events like the Martin Luther King celebration, the National Day of Prayer and the Thanksgiving service, as well as other fundraisers held throughout the year. Anyone who is interested in learning more about the scholarship, whether it is applying or donating to the fund, can contact Rev. Pasmore at 302-422-8111.