Local 2195 Host 20th Annual King Tribute
By John Davis

The Local 2195 20th annual Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was held Sunday, January 18, 2004 at the Holiday Inn in Decatur, Alabama. This annual event sponsored by Local 2195 and Delphi and hosted by the Local 2195 Scholarship Committee remembers Dr. King and his contributions to all mankind. In addition, a total of five $1000 scholarships are presented with the idea of keeping Dr. King’s legacy alive.

The 2004 edition of the event marked one of the longest running tributes to Dr. King within the UAW. The longest running program in Michigan celebrated their 19th observation, and the Local 2195 tribute was recognized for its continuation.

The program began with Scholarship Committee Chair Kenneth Davis welcoming everyone and introducing Minister Michael Chapman who served as the emcee. Special music was provided by the group Melodic Voices. This group of six young people offered soul stirring a cappella versions of several scared selections followed by scripture and prayer by Michael Chapman.

Local 2195 President Terry Scruggs offered his opening statement. “If you are going to go anywhere you need God by your side and an education. Dr. King understood this and went boldly out doing his work. He stood up for the rights of all people and we should remember his legacy.”

“We are here today to honor Dr. King and his work,” added Delphi Site Manager John Stanley. “Dr. King had a dream and dared to make it come true. Recently the country recognized the anniversary of the dream the Wright Brothers had with flight. Dr. King and the Wright Brothers had a dream of a better world and worked to make their dreams a reality. I would encourage the scholarship winners today to dare to dream of what they can be as well.”

“Dr. King was a great leader, whose work paved the way for all to benefit from,” stated Local 2195 Shop Chairman Howard Greene. “We have all heard it said that history repeats itself. There are things in our history that should never be repeated. One way to avoid the repetition of mistakes of our history is education. It is very fitting this tribute to Dr. King include scholarships for young people.”

The keynote speaker for the 2004 tribute was Congressman Artur Davis of Birmingham. Representative Davis became Alabama’s newest Congressional member in January 2003. Born in 1967 in the impoverished neighborhood of West Montgomery, Alabama, Davis continues to exercise his commitment to excellence as a United States Congressman and the principles of hard work which have propelled him his entire life including his graduating Magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1990 and cum laude from
Harvard Law School in 1993.

“Let me begin by thanking the UAW for continuing this process of honoring the memory and legacy of Dr. King,” Rep. Davis stated. “It was in Memphis supporting sanitation workers that Dr. King’s life was cut short by an assassin’s bullet. Dr. King was marching for economic rights. The UAW understands the importance of economics, and I ask you where would the world be in the past 100 years without labor? It is also good to see Delphi represented at this event. Too many companies today do not understand the contributions that Dr. King made and it is good to see that Delphi understands and cares.

There could be some people who ask why hold a tribute such as this. Some think we no longer have social injustice, but they are wrong. In the past calendar year there have been one million additional children in this country slip below the poverty line. There has been another one million people lose their health care coverage. We cant always mark the world by the haves and have nots. There is a tendency sometimes to think that those who have plenty earned that right, when the truth is maybe they were simply lucky. For some prosperity is simply an accident of birth. Then there are those who are born in a community that will support them in achieving their dreams while others are not. The random hand of God allows some to be chosen.

Dr. King is well remembered for many famous oracles such as the “I have a Dream” speech or his “Mountain Top” speech the night before he was killed. However, I am reminded of a less known quote from him that goes “I cant be all that I can be, unless you are all that you can be.” This country can never reach its heights until we are all together. How can it be that we no longer live in world where we divide people by race, but still live in world where people are divided by prosperity?

When we examine Dr. King’s dream, we must ask ourselves just how closer to the dream are we? Dr. King spoke of equality for all people, but if he returned today and visited the same places, what would he find? I can tell you that in Selma and Birmingham and Montgomery Dr. King would still find children who were hungry, children who needed clothes and children who need shelter. Race would be no divider for he would find white and black children living in these conditions.

To me, the most haunting images of the terrorist attacks from September 11 where those of people jumping out of the windows. These photographs record people who lived a nightmare together and felt they had no other choice. In those photos it is impossible to tell what race they were. It is sad that we must live through a nightmare to dream together. Today, there is still too much hate in the hearts of men of all colors. Until we remove that hate, then Dr. King’s dream can never fully be accomplished.

You see, justice is synonymous with opportunity. Everyone must have the same rights. You cannot keep people free without educating them, because education is the only thing that brings true advancement. Wealth, power or love can’t accomplish this, only education.

God has been so abundant to us with his charity. But, we are told to make this world work. We are to feed the hunger, heal the sick and cloth the naked. I am so very proud of your organization and the work that you do every day for workingmen and women in American. Your on going work help makes the American Dream a reality,” Rep. Davis concluded.







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