This weekend, Parish President Natalie Robottom participated in a number of activities with St. John the Baptist Parish residents to honor and celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the federal holiday honoring Dr. King's birthday and his advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world.
On Sunday, Robottom addressed the congregation of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edgard during their annual ceremonial mass. Each year, the Knights of St. Peter Claver and the Ladies Auxiliary celebrate Dr, King's birthday the Sunday before the official holiday with a mass and guest speaker. Like Dr. King, Robottom stressed the importance of education to the future of our children. "I applaud all of you for not only keeping Dr. King's dream alive, but for inspiring new dreams in the youth of our Parish," stated Robottom. Although St. John has come a long way in creating change, Robottom explained there is a lot more to be done. She encouraged adults to reach out to children and help them overcome the challenges they face.
Robottom and Council Members Charles Julien and Raydell Morris were on hand for the annual East Bank and West Bank Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Rallies. The East Bank rally was sponsored by Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church and New Pilgrim Baptist Church and their Pastor, Dr. Forell Bering, Sr. The theme of the rally was "Recapturing the Spirit of the King and Planning for the Future" and the guest speaker was Dr. Lawrence Woodard, a retired Professor of Mathematics from Grambling State University. The rally was very well attended by other elected officials, visiting ministers, the East St. John High Band and residents of the parish. Parish President Natalie Robottom was recognized for her achievements and hard work in her new position.
As the rally on the East Bank ended, Robottom proceeded to the West Bank on the newly opened ferry to participate in the West Bank celebration. This celebration was sponsored by the West Bank Civic Association with the theme of "Celebrating Our Own through the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." The Civic Association gave special recognition to seniors of the West Bank 90 years of age and older. One of the honorees, Mrs. Mary Victor, will be 100 years old at the end of the month. Councilman Morris, encouraged all parents to show their children love, especially, the boys to instill an appreciation for life. Both Council members addressed the need to support and encourage our youth to be all they can be. Councilman Julien said "my children are here with me because I think it's important that they see and hear about Dr. King and his beliefs".
Dr. King believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encouraged all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America by applying the principles of nonviolence to make this country a better place to live—creating the Beloved Community. "By implementing Dr. King's teachings into our lives, we can make a difference in our community," said Robottom.