CHIPLEY — Faith is key when making dreams come true, said Chipley native and attorney Dawn Whitehurst of Tallahassee.
Whitehurst spoke at Monday’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at Artis Gilmore Park. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Building the Dream on the Foundation of Faith.”
The memorial service followed the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade in downtown Chipley.
The MLK celebrations began Saturday with an Education Day at the park. Among the booths at Education day were Florida Kid Care, CARE (Chemical Addictions Recovery Effort), Washington County Supervisor of Elections, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Juvenile Justice and Covenant Hospice. The rap group Seago also performed on Saturday.
Whitehurst is an attorney with the Knowles & Randolph law firm in Tallahassee. She graduated from Florida State University College of Law in 1988 and first worked as assistant state attorney with the Second Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office, according to the website knowlesandrandolph.com.
In 1991, she was hired as an Assistant General Counsel with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement where she prosecuted law enforcement officers, correctional officers and probation officers in formal administrative hearings throughout the State of Florida, according to the website. She also provided training to officers around the state pertaining to the professional standards in their field and the officer discipline process, and was frequently asked to serve as a guest lecturer on various law enforcement topics.
From 1994 to 2000 she served as Assistant City Attorney for the Tallahassee City Attorney’s office, and in 2002 she joined Knowles & Randolph, according to the website.
“Most of us dream,” Whitehurst said. “But it is the good dreams that we want to build on.”
She said the Bible is full of examples of men whose faith in God allowed them to fulfill their dreams, including Joseph, Job, Moses and Jesus. Likewise, Dr. King’s faith allowed him to pursue his own dream.
“Dr. King never gave up on his dream,” Whitehurst said. “He suffered just as much as Joseph, but he built his dream on faith.”
“I dare you to dream today,” Whitehurst said to the young people in the audience. “Trust in God, keep the faith, and see what God can do for you.”
She warned that people will try and shake your faith and demean your dreams. “People without vision will call your dreams impractical, downright impossible,” Whitehurst said. “But where would we be today if not for Dr. King’s dreams?”
2013 will mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech and Monday’s national holiday honoring King also saw the fulfillment of another dream — then second inauguration of President Barack Obama, Whitehurst said.
“Fifty years ago it was a radical idea for a black man to have big dreams, much less to dream to be president,” she said. “Big dreams can come true, and it was a big dream for him, and it is a big dream for us,” Whitehurst said of the president’s inauguration.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person to make it,” she said, describing President Obama’s philosophy. “We have to be the change we want to see.”
“Progress can be made, dreams can come true,” Whitehurst said. “With faith in God, your dreams can come true, too.”