MEDINA — The church was packed to capacity and cars overflowed the parking lot and lined the street for Second Baptist Church’s 14th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day service.
About 160 people attended the service, including city, county and township officials.
Candace Campbell Jackson, vice president and chief of staff at the University of Akron, gave the keynote address.
Her speech emphasized the importance of education.
She said the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. finished high school at 15 and college at 19.
“That’s an important part of the legacy that I think we can emulate,” she said.
She said that too often, young children are not prepared to enter kindergarten.
“Our children are still lagging behind because we’re not paying attention to their educational needs,” she said. “Poverty is a circumstance, not an excuse.”
The speech received murmurs of approval and applause from the crowd.
Jackson encouraged everyone present to “take time to read to a child.”
At the end of the service, the Rev. Cornell Carter, senior pastor at Second Baptist Church, led a moment of silence to remember all who have been victims of violence, especially the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Carter said King stood for nonviolence.
“We’ve come to a place in our country where violence has become all too common,” he said. “Just by remembering, we can begin to change the world.”
Contact Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.