Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King in Detroit

            Dearborn Heights, Metro Detroit, Michigan. Members, associates and friends of the Dearborn Area Interfaith Network, DAIN,
DAIN - Dearborn Area Interfaith Network
presented their annual Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Observance, “Building the Beloved Community”. The event was held at the Islamic House of Wisdom, IHW, who also filmed the event for YouTube ( The event gathered about 400 people, including a number of local officials. Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly was present and gave a brief welcome. Debbie Dingell, recently elected 12th District Congresswoman, succeeding her husband, John Dingell, the longest serving member of the US House of Representatives was also present and recited a passage from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech as did other guests.
            This was the 10th annual event by DAIN, held for the first time ever at a mosque. DAIN committee member Imam Elahi, hosted the event at his mosque, the Islamic House of Wisdom. Although a new member of DAIN and new to Interfaith I was honored to be among the speakers, reading a prayer for Peace and Harmony from “Goddess Bless!” by Sirona Knight (about 38 minutes into the program, on the youtube above).  Later I also read, along with fellow committee member Regina, quotes from Dr. King’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail”.
Oberon reading the alternative, Goddess prayer

Regina and Oberon reading from "A Letter from a Birmingham Jail"

            Regina also introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. James Perkinson, who spoke for about 25 minutes.  Dr. Perkinson, author of White Theology: Outing Supremacy in Modernity and other books is a professor of Ethics and Systematic Theology at Ecumenical Theological Seminary. Dr. Perkinson’s speech tied a number of threads from Social Justice matters, such as Civil Rights, Ferguson, Police Violence, Inequality, and Global Warming to a solid message encouraging and demanding participation from everyone in the fight for justice.
Dr. Perkinson delivers the keynote speech`
            The observance featured a number of musical selections from the Henry Ford College Choir, including “We Shall Overcome” as their final selection, which most of the audience sang too. Other selections included “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “O For a World”. For the special offering, nearly $900 was raised for the Lebanese American Heritage Project, which provides services for low-income Lebanese American children and seniors.  Dr. Tallal Turfe, long-time activist and humanitarian, presented a “Muslim perspective on Dr. King’s Life and Legacy”.
DAIN committee members, Lila, Fran, Oberon and Regina, in front of the Remember Me Quilts
            Afterwards, for the reception, the friendly staff at the House of Wisdom served a pleasant, light meal that included a Mediterranean style lentil soup and salad, as well as breads and sweet pastries. During the reception, Sandy North, Coordinator of Remember Me Quilt Project, spoke near the display of quilts her group brings to many Interfaith events in Detroit and Michigan. The quilts display the innocent victims of gun violence, a cause very dear to the Project’s heart. She invites the audience to participate in the quilt project by submitting their own dead family or friends of gun violence. As long as the victim was not a felon, or a gang member, they are welcome to be remembered on one of their quilts. If the Remember Me Quilt Project has their way, they would like more cities, towns and states to adopt the message and display victims of gun violence on their own quilts. Although this project has been around several years, in the aftermath of Ferguson, it not only takes on greater meaning but also asks all of us to go deeper and question the value of life. Not just all lives, but especially those who are most at risk.
           The message of Interfaith In Detroit, on Martin Luther King Day is to honor his message and to continue to speak truth to power.  As Witches, we not only honor all life, as we are called to serve the Goddess, but to strive to protect those lives that are endangered. In the Detroit Interfaith community, it is a given that #Blacklivesmatter.

Alan Toubeaux, aka Oberon Osiris
In Service to the Covenant of the Goddess

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