Interfaith Community Memorial Service for civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Reno (Nevada, USA) on January 19 began with Sanskrit mantras.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered the invocation from ancient Hindu scriptures—Rig-Veda, Brahadaranyakopanishad, Bhagavad-Gita, Taittiriya Upanishad—reading in Sanskrit and then translating into English.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, speaking on the occasion, said that Dr. King paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi as one of the important sources of his own values and adapted Gandhi’s idea of civil disobedience to the civil rights movement.
Benjamin Holden, Director of the Reynolds National Center for Courts & Media, was the keynote speaker. Other speakers included International Community of Christ Bishop Gene Savoy Junior, Second Baptist Church Pastor Michael L. Randle, Verita Black Prothro, Mary Cooper, Spanish Springs Presbyterian Church Pastor Howard Dotson, and Trinity Episcopal Church Deacon Patsy Pumphrey.
Musical selection “Medley” was performed by Power of Love and directed by Leon W. Smith, while Second Baptist Church Choir selection was directed by Jesse Hall. Jim Eaglesmith delivered the African chant “My Whole Self is Well”. The Spirit Singers performed “MLK” and “Join Together” musical selections. Congregational hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing” formed part of the Service.
Reverend Onie Cooper Humanitarian Awards were presented on the occasion to Evelyn Mount and Nevada for the Common Good.