FAIRFIELD — Brenda Knight looked at her audience of about 200 people and considered how close America is to making the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous dream a reality.
She was the guest speaker at the Martin Luther King Day commemorative breakfast Monday, organized by the local branch of the National Council of Negro Women at the Hilton Garden Inn. Knight founded Ladies In Red, which describes itself as a women’s empowerment group, and is on the Napa Valley College Board of Trustees.
How close to King’s dream are we?
“Close, but not close enough,” Knight said.
She talked about an event happening that very morning in Washington, D.C.
“Today, President Barack Obama is being sworn in as the 44th president of the United States,” Knight said. “Today, he is making history as the first black president to be re-elected to office.”
She talked about the 113th Congress having a record number of women members and the nation having seven women governors and several Bay Area cities having women mayors.
But she also talked about African-Americans facing police brutality. She talked about Obama enduring comments from “those who have drunk from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”
Knight told her audience not to drink from the cup of bitterness and hatred. She said compassionate, caring, loving, strong, determined women have a job to do, even if that means working without reward.
“Sisters, work together and don’t you ever get weary,” Knight said.
Stop having personal jealousies and envy, Knight said. Learn how to be happy when others receive blessings, she said.
“How close are we to the dream?” Knight said. “We’re so close that others know we are close and they are trying to divide us.”
She closed to applause by repeating, “Hold on to the dream.”
The group stood to sing the Negro National Hymn, composed in 1899 by James Weldon Johnson:
“Sing a song, full of the faith that the dark past has taught us; Sing a song, full of the hope that the present has brought us; Facing the rising sun of our new day begun; Let us march on till victory is won.”
Fairfield Fire Chief Vince Webster, the program host, closed the breakfast by calling Monday a day of remembrance and a special day. He urged participants to go out and treat others as they themselves want to be treated.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.