TWENTYNINE PALMS — Even as marchers headed north on Adobe Road for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day March and Prayer Bowl Monday, Jan. 20, one of the organizers was thinking of ways to make next year’s event better.
Following local tradition, participants gathered outside Little Church of the Desert where, after a prayer by Pastor Lolila Faaaliga of Born Again Ministries, they began marching north on Adobe Road under the watchful eye of Citizen Patrol volunteers.
Layton Matthews suggested creating a banner the marchers could walk behind while they paid tribute to the marches that marked the civil rights actions led by King in the 1960s. He made that suggestion in between trying to keep faster marchers from outpacing their slower counterparts and leaving them too far behind.
Once participants settled in at the Prayer Bowl at Palms Baptist, they heard another suggestion for making next year’s celebration better.
Looking out over the assembly, with more seats empty than filled, Mayor Joel Klink asked everyone to invite someone to next year’s celebration so the church can be filled with celebrants.
“It is great to see our community pride,” Klink said. “The civil rights he fought for made a difference in our community.”
“Do The Right Thing” was the theme of this year’s celebration and it was reflected in several speakers’ words.
“You cannot do the right thing until you open your heart,” Pastor Faaaliga Faaaliga Jr. of Born Again Ministries said.
“How do we do the right thing? First, love,” Lolia Faaaliga said.
“We see God’s creation in every person,” Klink said.
“We should be willing to suffer. Dr. King had the courage to do the right thing,” Councilman McArthur Wright said. “Dr. King’s dream is about all of us doing the right thing.”