The Huntington branch of the NAACP celebrated the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday with music, speeches rooted in faith, and rousing words from State Attorney General Letitia James.
James, who is pursuing a civil lawsuit alleging fraud against Donald Trump, spoke of the many actions her office has taken during her tenure, most revolving around voting and other civil rights. “I remain hopeful because God is ushering in a new day,” she said. She repeatedly linked battles over voting, censorship, housing and other issues to those of the Civil Rights era in the 1960s.
“We must use every tool at our disposal to continue the legacy of Dr. King,” she said. “Please vote, because Dr. King died for it.”
She also spoke up for Jewish Americans, reminding the audience of the history of Jewish support for the Civil Rights struggle.
The celebration drew State Assemblyman Steve Stern, Suffolk County legislators Tom Donnelly and Rebecca Sanin, District Attorney Ray Tierney, Town Councilmen Sal Ferro and Dr. David Bennardo, as well as Barry Lites and Irene Moore, from the planned African American Museum, among others.
Huntington Tax Receiver Jillian Guthman emceed the program at Bethel AME Church; at one point, James joked about wondering what kind of town Huntington must be when the tax collector received such a big round of applause.
Whitney Donegan sang two solos, while the Rev. Dr. Larry Jennings led the invocation. NAACP Chapter president Veronique Bailey, Suffolk County Family Court Judge Victoria Gumbs-Moore, and Ruthanne Cooley, chair of the event, also spoke.