‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
State Rep. Margo Davidson (D-164) believes today that there are many things that matter and now is not the time for silence. That message and others by Dr. King were given to the standing-room only crowd at the first Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Brunch hosted by Davidson at the Archer Epler VFW/American Legion in Upper Darby on Monday.
“This event serves as a perfect opportunity for us to come together as neighbors and to celebrate the rich diversity in our community,” said Davidson. “Economic and social justice today has sparked movements on a level that we have not seen since MLK’s day from #MeToo to #BLM to #DACA to the Women’s March movements, we are seeing a new level of passion around civic engagement and activism which has led to better and healthier communities in the past and could again in the future. That is what this country is all about. That is what the legacy of Dr. King is all about. I hope folks can join us in celebrating that.”
The capacity turnout greatly exceeded Davidson’s expectations for the event, which she planned to be all-inclusive and non-partisan.
“What resonates most with me is MLK’s statement that ‘injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere,’” said Davidson. “Justice in this country is in peril and it’s a great time to recognize and champion justice on every front.”
Aside from a brunch filled with breakfast favorites, there were musical performances, poetry readings and prayer. The event also featured the establishment of the first “Judge Carolyn H. Nichols Drum Major for Justice” award. Nichols has deep family connections to Delaware County and is the highest-ranking African-American female judge ever elected to the Pennsylvania bench having won a seat in November on Superior Court.
Justice Juanita Kidd Stout was the first African-American female to sit on the state Supreme Court but she was appointed to that position in 1988. Judge Doris Harris, the second Black woman graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, was the first Black woman to sit on Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court, but she too, was appointed in 1971.
Henry “Hank” Teti was also presented with an inaugural award. The longtime Upper Darby resident has been active there since 1960. He is a member of the Southern Law Poverty Center, NAACP, United Negro College Fund, the ACLU, and the Knights of Columbus,
“Our goal is to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and acknowledge the local civil rights heroes within our own community,” Davidson said. “As we are gathered here today to recognize true heroes, we want to think about our own individual roles and what each of us can do in our sphere of influence to bring about real change and real justice.”