JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Thousands of people were in Washington, D.C., this week to honor the anniversary of the March on Washington and the legacy of doctor Martin Luther King Jr.
Bishop Rudolph McKissick Jr., pastor of Bethel Baptist Institutional Church, was on the podium in the Washington Mall on Saturday to give one of the opening prayers for the opening event of the commemoration.
McKissick started his prayer with a quote he read that morning: "There is no future for a people who forget their past so that, today, we are not just commemorating our past, but we're using our past to forge a future."
McKissick prayed for two minutes on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial -- the exact spot King spoke in 1963. He describes it as one of the most incredible experiences of his life.
"To look out and at this sea of people who have come and realize, 50 years ago the same view is what Dr. King had, was just phenomenal," McKissick said.
McKissick said he remembers back to when he was 8 years old and stood on those steps and thinks about the progress that's been made since, and about the progress that needs to continue.
"We've still got to deal with voter issues, voter suppression. The Supreme Court has now tweaked, if you will, the Voting Rights (Act). That's got to be dealt with," he said.
McKissick said this could start within the black community.
"We've got to address in-house issues: teaching our young men what it means to be respectful, dealing with our black-on-black crime," he said.
McKissick says he took a lot away from the experience Saturday and hopes Martin Luther King's dream continues to become a reality.
"The dream he had of his children being able to sit down at one table with a variety of cultures, I think that's the reason we've got to remember him," McKissick said.
Now that he's back in Jacksonville, he hopes to be a voice for the voiceless and will continue to fight the fight for equality.
"Learn how to love each other and learning how to relate to each other and learning how to value each other, regardless of our culture, regardless of the color of my skin," McKissick said.