Interfaith Community Memorial Service for civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Reno (Nevada, USA) on January 18 included Sanskrit mantras and sprinkling of drops of water from river Ganga of India, sacred to Hindus.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered the invocation from ancient Hindu scriptures—Rig-Veda, Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita—reading in Sanskrit and then translating into English. He sprinkled few drops of Gangajal before starting his prayer in 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, talked about Dr. King’s visit to India, and his admiration of Mahatma Gandhi and his non-violent resistance.
Angela D. Taylor, a community leader, was the keynote speaker. Other speakers included International Community of Christ Bishop Gene Savoy, Jr., UUFNN Senior Minister Neal Anderson, City of Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez, performance artist Jim R. Eaglesmith, People First Foundation Executive Director Courtney Bell, Mary Cooper and Daryl Feemster. International Community of Christ Reverend Mother Rebecca Willis read the benediction.
Musical Selections were delivered by Second Baptist Church Choir and Greater Light Choir, while UUFNN Choir performed Prelude “MLK” and The Power of Love directed by Leon W. Smith gave Postlude. 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 Dolores Feemster and People First Foundation.