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Columbia MLK Day celebration with Vice President Harris met with unexpected disrupters

via AP Archive
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The Martin Luther King Jr. annual Day at the Dome in South Carolina was marked by disruptions, including heckling during a morning service and pro-Palestine protests during Vice President Kamala Harris’s speech at the State House.

The event’s theme was “Ballots for Freedom, Ballots for Justice, Ballots for Change,” with a focus on the importance of voting.

The church service emphasized the significance of voting and the upcoming November election. (Trending: 2024 Miss America Winner Crowned)

Harris and US Rep. Hakeem Jeffries spoke about the importance of social change and the ongoing struggle for justice.

Christopher Nance said, “I learned about the historic nature of this march, and the fact that Dr. King was supposed to actually be here, either on the day he was assassinated or the day before.”

“I think this community made a really intentional decision to recognize the King and holiday because this was literally the place he was supposed to be on the day he died,” he continued.

“The heart and soul of the African American community is the church,” said Nance.

“And yet more and more people are disconnected with that tradition,” he added.

“This is a reminder about not only the importance of those traditions, but especially during this year, where we have yet another unprecedented election cycle where the choices we make will have a significant impact on how our democracy goes forward,” explained Nance.

Jessica Colombi said, “And so speaking to values around family, community, education, peaceful protest, justice, those are all connected directly to the King holiday.”

The church service included prayer and gospel music as well as a heavy emphasis on getting out to vote. Multiple people, including US Rep. James Clyburn, spoke about the importance of the November election.

Rep. Clyburn said, “Prayer accomplishes much, but prayer can not do it all. Jim Crow became the law of the land by one vote. Don’t you let that one vote be you.”

“We’ve come a long way but we still have a ways to go,” added Rep. Jeffries.

“We’re dealing with some folks who want to erase our struggle, erase our journey. Black history is American history,” explained the lawmaker.

The disruptions by pro-Palestine protesters were met with disapproval from some attendees, while others emphasized the importance of unity and historical significance.

Melecia Goode, a teacher from Chesterfield, said, “I don’t think that was a time or place. I don’t think it was necessary.”

“Today was just a wonderful day to just be rubbing elbows with history. I’m just elated, ecstatic about everything,” she exclaimed.

Harris’s speech highlighted the assault on freedoms and the fight for rights, addressing concerns such as women’s reproductive rights.

Harris said, “For our young leaders, the assault on freedoms is not hypothetical. It is lived experience,”

“Freedom is fundamental to the promise of America. Freedom is not to be given, it is not to be bestowed, it is ours by right,” she continued.

“Were he here, Dr. King would be the first to say: though we have come far, we still have far to go. In this moment, it is up to us to fight…”

“This generation has fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers,” claimed the vice president.

Mary Winstead, a retired social worker and Pamela Burgess, said, “I was particularly influenced by the fact that the vice president was going to be here, and Jeffries.”

The event took place ahead of South Carolina’s Democratic presidential primary.

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