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Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie calls for courage, audacity in MLK Week convo

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie — the first female bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church — kicked off Belmont’s Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative week with an inspiring convocation in Massey Performing Arts Center Friday morning.

McKenzie spoke widely about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dreams of equality and love for all people and how this generation can continue to uphold that legacy.

This is especially important because the injustices that occurred during Dr. King’s lifetime are still happening today, she said.

“We must find a nonviolent way to give voice to the rage simmering just below the surface in all of our communities. And at the same time, remind ourselves and the huddled masses yearning to break free that this is not an attack on our government but on an unjust criminal justice system,” she said. “It is not an attack on all police but on a repressive system.”

The bishop encouraged those in attendance to voice their responses to the speech. In return, the crowd called out with affirmation and applause.

Her speech ended with an encouragement to pursue an “uncommon courage.”

“You can live without a lot of things in this volatile, uncertain world of ours. But Dr. King’s life and legacy remind us that you cannot live without courage,” she said.

The convocation closed with time for questions, where McKenzie encouraged the audience to live with audacity.

“Audacity means you believe that you have something to contribute that others have not contributed.”

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This article written by Abigail Bowen

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