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Gulley talks importance of MLK legacy

By Staff, 04/1/21 10:22 AM

PRESCOTT – Sunday, April 4, marks the 58th anniversary of the day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis, TN.

The Rev. Patrick Gulley, a member of the state MLK Commission, said this is a celebration of King’s death, and a youth summit will be on YouTube at noon Friday, April 2. The summit will be moderated by actress Vivica A. Fox, and will feature Gulley’s daughter, Kaysha Williams. The summit, he said, will deal with non-violence. Fox, he continued, asked the participants questions about Dr. King, what he was doing at the motel and why he was shot.

Basically, Gulley said, the summit is for the next generation. “It makes me proud when youth is encouraged to get involved and participate in history. It makes their lives better.”

No local activities are planned, he said, because of COVID-19, though activities could be planned once COVID restrictions are lifted in the future.

Gulley was asked about his memories of King. He said he wasn’t born when King was murdered, but learned about Dr. King from his parents and grandparents, along with others in the community. This helped Gulley realize what was going on and what happened. He pointed out he and Dr. King are both pastors, with Gulley the minister at Antioch Baptist Church. King’s message, he said, affected him and caused him to stand up against injustice anywhere. “It affected me to not let the fire go out that he (King) started. I keep it burning against injustice.”

Gulley said he strives not to do negative things, but to live positively and do good things that Dr. King and Jesus would want done. “You have to follow Jesus first,” he said.

Though Dr. King’s message still resonates, Gulley said, it’s sad to see there’s still injustice in the world. King’s message, he added, should make people what to push for justice. However, he pointed out if there’s no injustice, there’s nothing to fight for.

Currently, he said, people are attacking Asians. Dr. King, he said, wasn’t just for the colored people, but fought for everyone when it came to injustice. “It angers me to see anyone mistreated,” Gulley said. “Fighting injustice begins at home. I’ve instilled it in my daughter to stay focused no matter what’s going on around her and to keep pushing to do what’s right. If everyone started at home the world would be a better place.” He said this also needs to be brought to church, letting the congregation know.

Churches, he continued, need to be after souls. “Souls have no color,” Gulley said. “If people are in church for any other reason, something’s wrong. It also needs to be practiced outside the church and make people want to follow you to church.”

Another important method of fighting injustice, he said, is by voting. People need to have an even playing field so every vote counts. People, he said, should register to vote, and make plans to get to the polls. “This is how injustice is changed. Put those who see injustice in the seats to make justice decisions. People shouldn’t be OK with it, and that’s the problem.”

Gulley said, for him, one of the worst days in American history was Jan. 6, 2021, when the president didn’t ask his followers to stop rioting until it was too late. “To me, that was one of the worst days in US history, it was like the Jim Jones era.”

Dr. King, Gulley said,  pointed out there would be difficult days ahead.