Mary’s Woods Honors the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Mary’s Woods Honors the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

January 23, 2015

The Northwest Freedom Singers

The Northwest Freedom Singers

Inspired by Dr. King, guest speakers share their dream for a better society

On January 19, more than 175 Mary’s Woods residents and members of the Portland metro community gathered in the Chapel of the Holy Names to celebrate and honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

“This day of remembrance reminds us of our call and our responsibility to create a world where in Dr. King’s words, ‘all will be judged by the content of their character,’” said Marvin Kaiser, Ph.D., Mary’s Woods Chief Executive Officer. “And, we might add, their commitment to a just and equitable society.”

I Have a Dream, Too, was the theme of the inaugural Mary’s Woods MLK celebration. The event featured speakers from different age groups, race and backgrounds reflecting on their personal dream for our society based on Dr. King’s principles of peace and equality.

The youngest to speak were twin brothers Jack and Dawson Ricketts, age 9. They spoke about their dream for a world without “wars, fights, and bullies;” a world where people of all ages were treated equally.

“There is no age limit to dreaming,” said Sister Jane Ellen Burns, SNJM, to a round of applause. Like other speakers, Sister Burns spoke passionately about the betterment of humanity, saying she dreams for a world with an abundance of water. “Enough water to drink so that we will never see another picture of a baby who is dying of thirst.”

Other speakers included Ellen Anne Foy, Taline Chakarji, Alonzo Chadwick, Adrianna Carr and Rev. Forster Freeman.

Daryl Dixon, a member of the Mary’s Woods diversity committee, called upon those in attendance to “sit at the table with brothers and sisters” of all walks of life in order to “get to know, understand and love each other.”

Highlighting the occasion was Portland’s Northwest Freedom Singers, a choral group comprised of the city’s finest voices. Their closing song, “This Little Light of Mine,” brought everyone in attendance to their feet with cheerful singing and hand clapping.

“Dr. King’s message was alive in the chapel today,” said Chaplain Mary George-Whittle “As the celebration ended, I looked across the room and witnessed people of all age groups and backgrounds overflowing with emotion, all touched by the dreams of the guest speakers, and by a shared hope for a peaceful world.”

Nearly half of those who attended the celebration in the chapel hailed from the greater Portland Metro area, including the towns of Canby, Sherwood and from North Portland neighborhoods. “We were pleased to welcome so many outside visitors to our campus,” said Cheri Mussotto-Conyers, Director of Marketing & Client Relations. “It speaks to the shared interest Oregonians have with our aging community, and to the broader visibility Mary’s Woods has gained in recent years as a community gathering spot for people of all ages.”

The event was also simulcast via in-house TV to all Mary’s Woods living spaces.

Rev. Jon Aamodt gave the closing benediction, reiterating Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, “Hate can never drive out hate. Only love can drive out hate.” His hope is for today’s generation of Americans to fulfill Dr. King’s dream of racial equality for our country.

The event was cosponsored by Mary’s Woods and the Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Department.