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The pews of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church were filled with a rainbow of people of many faiths and nationalities who locked hands and sang “We Shall Overcome” on Sunday. They were performing in tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who died 51 years ago.
The service brought Christians, Jews, and Muslims together in a historic D.C. church frequented by many presidents, particularly Abraham Lincoln, for a program organized by the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington and the Council of Churches of Greater Washington.
At a time when President Donald Trump dominates the national media in a city once known for its humanity and diversity, those who participated in the event savored every moment of a Sunday afternoon program that promoted racial unity across the spectrum of faith.
“This Interfaith service is a testament to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King,” said keynote speaker Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, who went between quoting King to bible verses.
The organizers emphasized the power of unity through a diverse group of children from eight different faith traditions who sang in the 2019 Interfaith Youth Choir. The selections included “We Are The World” and “This Little Light of Mine.”
While Rabbi Gerry Serota, Executive Director of the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington, never mentioned Trump in his talk, he did say: “Dr. King would say what made America great in the first place.”
Following the program, attendees went to the fifth floor that was filled with exhibits and people wanting to talk about various diversity initiatives.
Imam Dr. Talib M. Shareef, President of Masjid Muhammad Inc., said after the program that the event was special because the world was represented. “This was an important event because this was the globe. In this city you have people from different parts of the world and now they are in America.”