Prayer service reflects on Birmingham jail letters ahead of MLK day

NOW: Prayer service reflects on Birmingham jail letters ahead of MLK day


MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Ahead of Martin Luther King day, Communities in Milwaukee are already celebrating the legacy of the civil rights activist.

The 32nd Annual Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior Memorial Prayer Service at All Saints Catholic Church was lively Saturday as members gathered to reflect on his letters written during his time in a Birmingham, Alabama jail cell while imprisoned for his activism in the 1960s.

"It's inspirational, it's uplifting, and it carries on the history of what people need to know about Dr. Martin Luther King," said Joyce Simms, part of the Parish Council at All Saints Catholic Church.

She says this year's keynote speaker is the Honorable Judge Kori Ashley of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

Judge Ashley says she attended this church herself, and is excited to return today to speak to the congregation and reflect on the content of Rev. Dr. King's letters.

"He talked about the tension that sometimes is the catalyst for change, the danger of complacency, and how to go about changing that mindset," said Ashley.

She says that's something that happens as a community, and hopes people can apply that to their lives even now.

"How to recognize the significance of that interrelatedness and how to try to find that again in Milwaukee," said Ashley.

For Judge Ashley, she says MLK'S work to change society inspired her to pursue her career to better society.

"I think he's an inspiration for all of us, right?" said Ashley.

Judge Ashley says both here in Milwaukee, and across the nation, Dr. King's work isn't done, but it's important to recognize what's changed since the start of the Civil Rights Era in the 1960s.

I mean, it's just so nice that he's getting this recognition in the form of this annual prayer service, but also that the day has now been a federal holiday," said Ashley, "I went to school on Martin Luther King Day when I was a kid, you know that my kid is out of school now and everyone's taking the time to reflect on his words so many years later, I think is really significant shows us how far we've come."

This prayer service rotates between three different churches in the Milwaukee area, including All Saints, St. Francis, and St. Martin de Porres catholic churches.

Share this article: