Interfaith Community Memorial Service for civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Reno (Nevada, USA) opened with Gayatri Mantra, considered the most sacred mantra in Hinduism, on January 17.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered the invocation at the Service from ancient Hindu scriptures—Rig-Veda, Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita, reading in Sanskrit and then translating into English. Participants repeated Gayatri Mantra in Sanskrit after Zed while standing at the Service held at Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada (UUFNN).
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, speaking on the occasion, stated that Dr. King and Mahatma Gandhi shared a common vision on fighting injustice using non-violent resistance.
Patricia Y. Gallimore, a leader of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was the keynote speaker. Various speakers talked about life-legacy-message of Dr. King on the occasion, including UUFNN Senior Minister Neal Anderson, Ryan J. Earl of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Reverend Gary Buchanan of the International Community of Christ (ICC), civil rights activist Eddie Scott, Mary Cooper of Northern Nevada Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Committee, performance artist Jim Eaglesmith and community leader Bert Ramos. Reverend Mother Rebecca Willis of ICC read the benediction.
Musical Selections were delivered by The Power of Love (TPOL) directed by Leon Williams Smith and Second Baptist Church Reno Choir; while Prelude “MLK” was performed by UUFNN Choir and Postlude by TPOL. Congregational hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and a video-tribute presented to Dr. King also formed part of the Service.
Reverend Onie Cooper Humanitarian Awards were presented on the occasion to Eddie Scott and We Care About Kids Nevada.