The city’s ninth annual event — held on the federal holiday commemorating the iconic late civil rights leader’s birth — drew a crowd that packed its city hall chambers to celebrate King’s life’s work.
Atlanta media personality Monica Pearson, the keynote speaker of the day, referenced King’s own words while espousing the need to continue the fight against social inequality and poverty.
“The message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is simple,” said the former longtime WSB-TV news anchor. “Most people, if you ask them, would say that it’s nonviolence.
“But, to me, that is just one of the ideas that comes under the primary message of being a servant of God. It means doing whatever it takes to be a reflection of God on earth.”
As part of the Sandy Springs King Day event, Hugo Mullins received the 2014 Humanitarian Award.
Mullins, founder and director of Family Ties Inc., earned the honor for his “deep dedication and concern for the welfare of social advancement of others.” Family Ties provides counseling and community integration services for local families and children.
He, too, said King’s ideals should be used as a call to action.
“On this day, we should all be thinking about how we can help those less fortunate than others,” Mullins said.
Mayor Rusty Paul recounted his experiences growing up in Alabama near the historic flashpoint events of the Civil Rights Movement, including the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in his hometown of Birmingham.
“I grew up in Birmingham with [pro-segregation Gov.] George Wallace and [Public Safety Chief] Bull Connor. … It still has not recovered from the stain on that community’s legacy,” Paul said. “When you talk about civil rights, it’s not an abstraction with me. … That’s an important part of who I am and what has motivated me in my life to do what I do today.”