News | Jan. 26, 2021

Troop Support employees celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy during virtual observance event

By Mikia Muhammad DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support employees celebrated the legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during a virtual observance event Jan. 14.

The national theme of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, “Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On, Not a Day Off!” is observed each year on the third Monday in January, said DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence.

“Thirty-eight years ago, in 1983, former President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law to honor the birth, the life and the dream of Dr. King,” Lawrence said. “MLK Jr. Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.”

During the event, guest speaker Paul Berry presented King’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.”

On April 13th, 1963, King and nearly 50 other protestors and civil rights leaders were arrested after leading a Good Friday demonstration designed to bring national attention to the brutal, racist treatment suffered by Black people in one of the most segregated cities in America—Birmingham, Alabama, Lawrence explained.

King penned the famous letter three days later in response to an open letter, written by eight local Christian and Jewish religious leaders, who criticized the civil rights demonstrations, and King himself, considering him an outside agitator.

“My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without legal and nonviolent pressure,” Berry recited from King’s letter. “History is the long and tragic story of the fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily.

“Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all of their scintillating beauty.”

Berry is a community leader in the Washington D.C. area and former co-anchor of WJLA’s “Crime Solvers” and “Seven on Your Side,” which he co-anchored for more than 20 years.

The observance event was hosted by DLA Troop Support Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity and Naval Supply Systems Command Weapons Systems Support EEO Advisory Committees.