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Oberlin gathers for annual Rededication to the Dream

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    Councilwoman Sharon Pearson and retired Lorain City Schools Art Teacher Kathy Spencer led the 27th annual Rededication to the Dream in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in Oberlin



OBERLIN — Cold weather and warm hearts were present at the 27th annual Rededication to the Dream ceremony at Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Monday. Councilwoman Sharon Pearson and Kathy Spencer, a retired teacher from Lorain Schools, opened the event.

The crowd gathered in the 23-degree weather around the monument dedicated to King at the corner of South Pleasant and Vine streets.

“It’s never too cold or too snowy,” Spencer said. “People come.”

She addressed the crowd saying that Rededication to the Dream program was to honor the life and legacy of King.

A proclamation from Oberlin City Council was read, recalling King’s ties to the city and his dream.

He visited Oberlin on several occasions and became an honorary alumnus of Oberlin College in 1965 when he was awarded the doctor of humane letters degree.

It was proclaimed that every January people in Oberlin will gather before King’s monument and rededicate themselves to King’s “dream … that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed — that all men are created equal.”

Steve Hammond, co-pastor with his wife, Mary, of Peace Community Church in Oberlin, said the rededication started in 1991 at the beginning of the Gulf War.

“We were members of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, and they started putting out resources including saying how now is a good time to really do commemorative work of Doctor King,” Hammond said. “That’s what got us started — so we just called some folks together and have been doing this ever since.”

Pearson said this celebration is one of the times that there is a diverse group.

“We would like to see a lot more,” she said. “Because it really is such a diverse group of people from all different parts of the community and churches.”

Pearson does have ties to the King family.

“I just found out five years ago that Joel King from Columbus is my cousin by marriage,” she said.

The Rev. Joel King Jr. is a first cousin to Martin Luther King Jr. Pearson said she has been in touch with him ever since, especially when planning for MLK Day.

The ceremony also included personal reflections of why people attended and a litany before the crowd drew in with locked hands and sang “We Shall Overcome.”

Contact Cindy Breda at 329-7126 or

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