The new addition to the Pahrump Community Church served as the venue for this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation’s All People’s Luncheon on Monday.
The vast space provided ample room for attendees and performers, numbering at more than 100 this year.
Since its beginning in the community roughly 15 years ago, the Pahrump MLK Foundation has contributed more than $40,000 in scholarships to area students hoping to advance their respective educations.
Scholarships aside, the foundation also makes regular donations to area nonprofit organizations.
Co-organizer Dor’e Foskey said she believes that Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspirational words still ring true in the present day, decades after they were first spoken.
“I think Dr. King’s message is still on point,” Foskey said. “We still need to have more unity in this country and we still need to judge a person by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.”
Local resident Sheryl Camacho said Monday’s local observance went well beyond celebrating King’s life and legacy.
“This is also about helping young people within our community with scholarships to better help themselves later on in life,” she noted. “That is one less thing that they have to worry about while they are going to school and getting their education. Dr. King’s message is very important today because if we don’t learn how to work together and live together as one, we are going to fall together as many.”
Resident Bill Dolan, representing the Pahrump’s Disabled American Veteran Chapter 15 organization, has been a longtime attendee of the local ceremony.
“It is always a great day to celebrate the life, legacy and history of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” he said. “I have attended these functions each year over the years because the Disabled American Veterans always steps up to support other community functions. Dr. King’s message is very important, especially when we have such a racial divide that we have in our country right now. That definitely needs to change because this is not the America that I know.”
Nye County Commissioner Butch Borasky said he remembers when King delivered the “I Have a Dream,” remarks to the world more than a half-century ago on Aug. 28, 1963.
“I hope that people today still remember what he said and what it meant,” Borasky said. “It most certainly meant a lot to me, and his message is still very important, especially when you consider how polarized our society is at present. It’s unfortunate that as the years have gone by, some people seem to have forgotten or even ignored his message.”
Dr. Tom Waters said he’s proud of local residents coming together to draw attention and to honor what Dr. King’s message stood for.
“This community has always come together for MLK Day, and I really appreciate it,” Waters said. “He wanted to bring all people together and let everybody see the value of people. That’s exactly what we should be doing today. We should look at individuals as individuals. These are people in our country that I’m talking about. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to bring all people together and talk about how much we can do for our country.”
The Pahrump Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation also welcomed a new president this year, as Linda D. McLaughlin now serves as the helm.
“I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate your support,” McLaughlin noted in the 2018 program. This was my first year as president of the Pahrump MLK Foundation and you have made it a great year, not only for me, but for our students and our community.
“My hope is to partner with you and your organizations throughout the year, for future fundraising events, McLaughlin said. “My dream is to continue to find ways to support Pahrump Valley High School students and local community organizations that may need our help. May God bless you and your companies as you have blessed those in need.”
Foskey meanwhile, implored the community and beyond to continue the work Dr. King began more than a half-century ago.
“We still have a need for people to love one another,” she said. “The main reason we selected the red, white and blue, is because we believe in unity. I do remember what was going on at the time because it was within my 60 years of living. I remember all of that. Even though I was young, it still resonates 50 years later.”
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @pvtimes