“My dream is that one day soon I will find a way to stop just celebrating the dream and start living it," attendees at the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP's annual service celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day said.
About 100 guests gathered at First Baptist Church on Monday for the event.
This call-and-response portion of the service — in which the Reverend Dr. Michael Cousin prompted the audience to read from distributed programs — echoed many of the ideas that various speakers, performers and pastors at the event wanted to convey.
“My message today was a sense of duty,” Dawna Jones, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP , said. “I'm asking people to truly lean into their sense of duty — to not have to be asked to not have to be told, but to step up where injustice is.”
Jones closed out the service with a call to action, in which she said there are many needs in the Black community, mentioning issues such as a lack of support for Black youth and the Black housing crisis.
She said there is a need to start holding people accountable.
Jones also awarded the NAACP Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award to James Williams, citing that he has contributed significantly to the local community through criminal justice reform, his work to support Black students who are unfairly disciplined in school and more.
“We are proud to have him as a member of our community and a member of our branch,” Jones said.
Williams was born on April 26, 1951, in Plymouth, North Carolina, and lived through the Jim Crow era.