Martin Luther King Day took on special significance for our firm this year. Kazan Law partner Gordon Greenwood was invited to his Mississippi hometown to be the keynote speaker at an event honoring Dr. King.
“As I look out over this audience today I see a lot of people who poured a lot of life into me and who are completely responsible for everything that I have ever accomplished in my life, and it is good to be invited to a lot of different places, it’s great to be invited home,” Gordon told the audience.
Annual Event Attracts Growing Crowds
Over 300 people gathered for the Meridian/Lauderdale County NAACP’s 30th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Prayer Breakfast on January 19. The annual event, which started with just a few members of the Boys and Girls club in Meridian, had to be moved from Meridian’s City Hall to a larger venue. Gordon Greenwood, who has been with our firm for 15 years, is a Meridian native and graduate of Meridian High School.
Also present was Meridian resident Angie Lewis who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award from President Obama on behalf of her father James Chaney. Chaney, along with Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, were Mississippi Civil Rights workers who were murdered in 1964. Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968.
Gordon Greenwood Encourages Self-Motivation
Gordon Greenwood, in his keynote address “Looking Back to Move Forward”, called on the community to follow Dr. King’s example of being self-motivated in achieving their goals.
“Somehow, we got this idea that the answer lies outside of us. We protest to the school board. Then we go to the supervisor: he must not be doing his job. Then we complain about the mayor, he must not be doing his job. We even complain about the president, Barack Obama ain’t doing his job. We look everywhere but at the man in the mirror,” he told the crowd.
“The babies born today at Rush and Anderson today are born with the same cry as the babies who were born at Matty Hersee,” Greenwood, a 1980 graduate of Meridian High School, told the crowd referring to past and current local hospitals. “It is a cry for motivation. It is a cry for direction, and if we do not answer it, the streets will.”
The breakfast concluded after a reading of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and a prayer by NAACP President Randle Jennings.
“We were truly blessed by the speech given to the community by Gordon Greenwood,” Jennings said. “More than anything, I hope we can build a bridge from this. We were challenged by Mr. Greenwood to build and strengthen our community.”