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Walking the Walk at Belmont's 20th MLK Breakfast

Sonia Chang-Diaz's request: "Move your feet."

Belmont's 20th annual Martin Luther King Breakfast.
Belmont's 20th annual Martin Luther King Breakfast.
When Boston State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz began her keynote address at Belmont’s 20th annual Martin Luther King Community Breakfast on Monday, Jan. 20, she steered clear of the most familiar and oft-repeated lines spoken by King and focused on an African proverb that King likely never said. 

"There is one phrase that keeps repeating in my mind," she told the filled lunchroom area of Belmont High School: "When you pray, move your feet."

"Even though this was not his, Dr. King's life shouted out this philosophy," said Chang-Diaz, noting that if King was here today, "he would urge us still, when you work for me, move your feet." 

The breakfast event, the 20th annual celebration hosted by the town's Human Rights Commission and Belmont Against Racism – the proceeds of the event went to the METCO Support Fund which provides financial support to many Belmont METCO related activities, including late-day transportation for Belmont High School's Boston students – brought neighbors, students, parents and Boston residents together to support the wider efforts of celebrating and promoting the values of Dr. King in Belmont. 

It was also a day to promote the efforts of all who focused on social justice anywhere in the world.

Dr. Paul Solomon, the oldest member of the Human Rights Commission, remembered human rights champion Nelson Mandela, the South African political prisoner who became president of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

"[Mandela] practiced reconciliation" rather an retribution after becoming president of his country in 1994, said Solomon, because "he trusted the people by telling them the truth and not what they wanted to hear and they trusted him.' 

Speaking of the late South African statesman who died late last year, Belmont High School student Daniel Vernick – who is the youngest member of the Commission – said "[t]rue power doesn't come from force but from compassion, humanity and tolerance."

Chang-Diaz, who is the first Hispanic woman to be elected a state senator, repeated a line from President Obama's second inaugural speech that while the truths and values that the US was founded might be self-evident, "they have never been self-executed." 

"I suspect that you are those people, your work proceeds you and that you don't expect that our ideals are self-executed," said Chang-Diaz. "It's why you are here today observing Dr. King's legacy."

Pointing to those residents who advocate and volunteer, parents who are active in their children's lives, educators who entered the field and students who study hard so they can contribute to society in the future, Chang-Diaz made a simple request: "Don't stop." 

"We are on the right path together to pull each other along," she said. 

"So in honor of Dr. King's legacy, when you pray, when you reflect on where we are going, who you want to be and what you want to world to look like, just move your feet." 
Jirair January 21, 2014 at 06:28 PM
CORRECTION: The photo of US Rep. Kathleen Clark above, should be US Rep. Katherine Clark

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