A Baptist minister from Waterloo says when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, it exposed poverty in America. Reverend Michael Coleman, pastor of the Antioch Baptist Church in Waterloo, was today’s keynote speak at the State of Iowa’s annual Martin Luther King, Junior ceremony in Des Moines, and he says “God blew the storm in” for a reason.
“Katrina…stopped off at a little place called New Orleans…It released all of this power, all of this anger and all of this rage and when it was done there was nothing but chaos left, but there were some clear lessons learned,” Coleman says. “One was there is still inequality in our nation.” Coleman says discrimination against people because of the color of their skin or the size of their checkbook isn’t as obvious as it was 50 years ago, but it’s still “under the covers” in America.
“We need to live the words of King and live the messages that he gave and if we live the messages that he gave…I think we’ll do a better thing in life,” Coleman says.
Coleman says many of the former residents of New Orleans were “locked in poverty” and he urged the audience at today’s Martin Luther King Holiday celebration to have a “personal policy” to “stand up” for change. “There has to be people, individuals of faith and believe, who believe that all men are created equal,” Coleman says.
Kimberly Baxter, director of the Iowa Commission on the Status of African Americans, asked the audience not to make the Martin Luther King Holiday a day off, but a day on. “The question is: What are you doing for others?” she asked. “Although we have made (much) progress, there is still much work to be done.” The crowd joined hands and sang “We Shall Overcome” to conclude today’s ceremony.