Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2015

Rocky Nimmons/Courier

The Rev. Artis Bufford of Easley Union Missionary Baptist Church speaks on the steps of the Pickens County Courthouse during the annual celebration held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.

‘We cannot sleep’

Pastor urges crowd to continue to

be active in pursuit of King’s dream

By Ben Robinson
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Easley Union Missionary Baptist Church pastor Rev. Artis J. Bufford addressed the public during the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday in Pickens and challenged his audience to remain active in pursuing King’s dream.

“We cannot sleep,” Rev. Bufford said.

The program was held in front of the Pickens County Courthouse and featured words from Bufford, Pickens County sheriff Rick Clark, Pickens City Councilman Fletcher Perry and Pickens Presbyterian Church pastor Rev. Nath Briley.

Rev. C.L. Cruell provided a rousting recitation of King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. A community choir performed “Amazing Grace” and “We Shall Overcome.”

After the ceremony, the crowd dispersed to Griffin Ebeneezer Baptist Church for lunch and fellowship. The Griffin Ebenezer youth presented a skit based on the “I Have A Dream” speech, and the youth joined Kelley Horton to present a song.

Bufford urged his audience to trust in God for guidance.

“If we are going to be one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” Bufford said, “and if we are to truly be a nation that truly believes in the slogan printed on our currency — ‘In God we trust’ — then we must trust in God to be the one that binds us together to move us forward and put us where He has prepared for us.

“We cannot sleep until South Carolina has become the state that it needs to become. We cannot sleep until Pickens County is the leader amongst the state. We cannot sleep until all of our young children are given the opportunity for equal education. We cannot sleep until those who desire to be employed are given the opportunity. We cannot sleep as long as our unemployment rate is higher than the national and state rate. We cannot sleep as long as we have those who desire to allow the status quo remain the symbol for what we shall be.”

Bufford said the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. is not just something to be displayed once a year.

“We have a faith not just to march on the third Monday of January, but we can march every day of our life understanding that we are moving forward in faith,” Bufford said.

Bufford was especially concerned that the children of today grow up in a better world.

“They deserve a better America,” Bufford said. “They deserve a better South Carolina. They deserve a better Pickens County. The deserve healthcare. They deserve their education. They deserve the right to vote. They deserve the opportunity to be employed at any institution or any place, an employment upon which if they are willing to work hard and put some effort into it, they can achieve what they desire to achieve.”

Bufford said the key is to work together for the benefit of all.

“No man is an island,” Bufford said. “We need one another to be able to move forward in this nation.”