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Stakeholders celebrate MLK Jr.
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At 7 p.m. Jan. 12 — three days before what would have been Martin Luther King’s 86th birthday — the Savannah Chapter of the NAACP partnered with Unity in the Community and Emmanuel Christian Church, where some of the community stakeholders in Richmond Hill met for the first time.
About 40 people of all ages came out to view a video presented by Unity in the Community.  
The meeting began when I introduced the video for the evening.  The video focused on civil responsibility as it pertains to roles in the community.  
It was the beginning of what we hope will be more opportunities to educate and inspire young people.   
Pastor Daniel Boyd believes this was a way for the community to be proactive. Videos such as this are educational ways to teach young people.
Richard Shinholster, the vice president of the NAACP’s Savannah chapter, spoke about the historic organization.  He also informed the attendees of what is required to start an NAACP chapter in Richmond Hill.
To complete the evening, a few photographs that were taken at the rally against police violence in Washington, D.C., were displayed by Sankofa Photography.  The photographs will be part of a gallery exhibit opening in Savannah in March.
This is a beginning for people, many of whom are transplants, to begin to feel as though they have a true stake in Richmond Hill.  
In the words of King, “There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society with a large segment of people in that society who feel that they have no stake in it — who feel that they have nothing to lose. People who have a stake in their society protect that society. But when they don’t have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it.”  
Those who came together are keeping King’s goals alive.  
They are people who want to have a stake — people who are about building on the dream.
As we prepared ourselves to celebrate the life of this historic, prolific man on his national holiday Jan. 19, it reminded us that we all should move toward the uplifting of Black History Month in February because it, too, is about America’s history and people.  
Considering or even acknowledging this need for enlightenment of our past history creates a more solidly, inclusive present and future that moves us together in unity.  
After all, that was King’s primary goal — equality and inclusion that would unite every individual. He called this “the beloved community.”

Butts and his wife, Sharon, are cofounders of Unity in the Community and coordinators of Bryan County’s 2014 Unity in the Park Festival.

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