King celebrations bring reflections on Obama

January 19, 2009 11:50:00 PM PST
Martin Luther King Day, a day set aside to honor a slain civil rights leader. For young people and old in the Bay Area, Tuesday's inauguration promises to bring much hope.

"A Certain Kind of Fire" was the theme for a presentation at San Francisco's Herbst Theatre where teenagers used poetry to pay homage to Dr. Martin Luther King.

"I've been to the mountiantop and it's getting clearer, the ends getting nearer, but i'm not finished. I can't quite see the finish line, so I'm still sprinting," recited Mic Turner.

"Martin, the day after you were murdered, my eyes stung with the pain of blindness," recited Simone Bridges.

"He wanted what was promised to him and he didn't settle for anything less," said Turner.

But it wasn't just a time to look to the past.

"Without Martin Luther King, there would be no Barack Obama running for president," said Bridges.

But they say they aren't blinded by the light.

"He's not Jesus, he's not MLK, he's not an activist, he's a president. Don't think just because he's a black president he's going to save black people," said Turner.

Across the bay, a rousing service at Bethel Missionary Baptist took place called "Embracing the Dream."

"We push Dr. King's dream, especially to young people who haven't had an opportunity to understand what the dream was about. Tonight we get to rejoice and see the manifestation of it happen on a national level," said Cseneca Parker with "Embracing the Dream."

At the church in Oakland, they were not only celebrating Martin Luther King, they were also trying to bring new life and hope to the neighborhood on San Pablo Avenue.

"Regardless of where you came from, regardless of the hard times you had in life, you still can go on," said Rev. Earl J. Ward with Star Bethel Missionary Baptist Church.

Celebrations of both a new day dawning in aAmerican politics and a rememberence of how far we've come.

"This is a mountaintop experience, I'll take that from Dr. King and share that tonight. It's a mountaintop experience," said Parker.