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BOLIVIA—Ahead of Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day observation, Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis hosted a Brunswick County recognition Wednesday.
“Remember the legend, the message, the dream embodied by Dr. King,” Assistant District Attorney Quinton McGee said in his invocation.
“It’s a message instilled in the youth of the community today and well into the future, so the dream carries on.”
The event included the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard, musical tributes from County commissioner's clerk Debb Gore and Adam Lassiter of the clerk of court office and comments from McGee, Lewis, Moses Stanley, Superintendent Edward Pruden and Clerk of Court Jim McCollum.
“Each (year), we stop and pause and reflect on the great leaders of our time, like Dr. King,” McCollum said. “They are small in number today but mighty in force”
Lewis introduced two guest speakers, Angela Metts, BCC liaison to Brunswick County Early College High School and Shallotte attorney Ryan Smithwick of BaxleySmithwick law firm.
Lewis spoke of King’s ideas on education and how they have come to fruition.
“‘The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education,’” Metts said King wrote in a 1947 Morehouse College student paper.
“Dr. King also states education must ‘discipline the mind’ around a set of morals. He warns that education without morals is ‘a ship without a compass,’” Metts said.
Metts said King defined an integrated society that demonstrates love, justice and a feeling of brotherhood as a beloved community.
“From his Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Communitywritings to his famous I Have a Dream Speech, Dr. King continues to hone his definition of the beloved community,” she said.
King proposed creating a “beloved community” built around a new kind of education, not just integrated schools, including educational parks to pool existing resources to better educate all children; no one subject was taught in isolation
“These ideas should sound very familiar. School buildings are designed similar to Dr. King’s proposed educational parks. School buildings are no longer designed to be stand alone buildings,” Metts said.
“No Child Left Behind Legislation and the new North Carolina Common Core curriculum both are based upon pooling existing resources to better educate all children.”
Metts said since Dr. King was only 18 years old when he wrote “Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education,” then Dr. King would have been an excellent candidate for today’s early college high school like Brunswick County Early College High School on the campus of Brunswick Community College.
Smithwick shared influences from his life with the audience, including a lesson learned in his first years out of law school.
“I worked for the District Attorney's Office in Charlotte North Carolina as a prosecutor in the Juvenile Division and then in the Felony Drug Crimes Division,” he said.
“A local defender made a difference in the early stages of my career repeatedly reminding all of us a prosecutor's job is not to convict but to seek justice–Norman Butler, an African American Attorney, and a zealous advocate for all of his clients.”
“He continuously drove home the most crucial point in our legal system - justice should be had by every person that sets foot in the courtroom, regardless of their identity, money, power or weakness.”
“One more person who has made a difference in my life, is our Senior Resident Superior Court Ola Lewis,”
He encouraged observing one of her treatment courts when they are in session on Thursdays.
“There may be laughter, there may be applause, there certainly will be some disappointment, you may even find them singing, but there is no doubt a difference is being made in each and every one of those individual's lives,” Smithwick said.
Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.