This article appeared in The BayNet on Jan. 19, 2016.
Hearkening back to Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream,” the guest speaker challenged the audience – “Are you going to let your dreams be unfulfilled?” Keynote speaker at the 12th Annual Southern Maryland MLK Prayer Breakfast at St. Mary’s College of Maryland was Major General Linda Singh, adjutant general of Maryland.
Singh’s youth presented daunting challenges that could have left her so beat down that she gave up on her dreams. She told the spellbound audience at the Jan. 18 event that she was sexually molested, a high-school dropout and homeless when she was a teenager. Being influenced by Dr. King, Singh said, “I had a dream. My dream was to be somebody.”
Singh (shown at left), who is responsible for daily operations of the Maryland Military Department which includes the Maryland National Guard, said joining the military and putting on the uniform changed her life. “Don’t feel sorry for me. It is what made me strong,” she said of her youthful experiences. “I am not a victim, I am a survivor,” she proudly proclaimed.
She is an unapologetic patriot, saying it’s important for the United States to be a superpower for other countries. “When we are weak, we weaken the rest of the world,” Singh said.
Singh bemoaned the stridency of some political rhetoric, “We have to celebrate our differences instead of tearing everybody down,” she said. Instead of personally criticizing President Obama, she said the country should celebrate “his courage to be different.”
Representative Steny Hoyer [D – MD District 5] also spoke as he has done for most of the previous breakfasts. “This day is about trying to help us be reminded of our responsibilities on a daily basis,” he said
Hoyer (shown at left) left the St. Mary’s City breakfast early so he could also attend celebrations in Calvert, Charles and Prince George’s counties. Hoyer’s press office released the following statement from the congressman after the events: “I was honored to observe the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at events across the Fifth District today. We mark this day as a re-dedication of our efforts not only to stand up for civil rights but also to broaden economic opportunity. In Washington, I’ve been proud to stand with my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus as we’ve pushed to enact policies that help all Americans achieve the American Dream.”
Hoyer pointed out that Dr. King was clear – “All should mean ‘all.’ ” He said that won’t be achieved until everyone believes in their hearts that “Equal Justice for All” means for everybody.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland President Dr. Tuajuanda Jordan was master of ceremonies. The struggle for equality continues today, she observed. “Where would race relations be today if he had lived. Would it be better or worse?” she asked.
Dr. Jordan also asked what the community needed to do going forward. She answered, “We can’t remain silent in the face of injustice,” adding it will take an extra effort to get to “Life and Liberty” and “Equality and Justice.”