Benton Harbor church celebrates MLK Day with call to action


In honor of Monday’s national holiday, one Michiana church held its 2nd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. day program, “Speaking the Truth to Power Our Youth in Benton Harbor.”

The message was about becoming an agent of change, just like Dr. Martin Luther King.

On a cold and snowy Monday, a group of dreamers gathered inside the warm, welcoming walls of Lighthouse Ministries.

The goal: to continue spreading Dr. King’s message of love and peace.

“He was a man who wanted segregation to stop. He wanted more people to love each other,” 9-year-old Nia explained.

“It’s important to continue to remind our youth about what he and others sacrificed so long ago. And it’s also important for us. It’s our responsibility to pass down his legacy from generation to generation,” said Youth Minister and Life Coach Carlton Brooks.

Church leaders hope to inspire the young kids to strive for greatness.

“I learned that you can do anything you dream of while you’re still young,” 10-year-old Bre’Ajah said.

And to get them thinking of how they can help their ever struggling city.

“Also come up with creative ways in which they can be change agents, because that’s what he was,” Lighthouse Ministries Executive Director Lisa Gorman explained.

It is a change craved desperately, by both the adults and children who live in the city.

“Recently there have been people being killed, senseless killings, a lot of violence with teenagers, fighting, gang fighting,” Gorman said.

“It’s time for us to come together as a community, to see what we can do to make Benton Harbor and Berrien County a better place,” Brooks added.

The young children wrote down the problems in their neighborhoods they want addressed.

Violence, dangerous parks, and fighting topped the list.

“Even around our school we have a lot of drug dealing, a lot of prostitution and it’s just really, really bad,” said Gorman.

As a call to action, the Lighthouse Ministries is drafting a petition to present to Benton Harbor’s youth.  

“I want to see a youth movement. If we’re going to restore our city it’s going to take the young people coming together and doing something different than what their parents, parents, parents did,” Gorman explained.

Share this article: