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Ridgites Hold Candlelight Vigil for Peace on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Dream on! Activists remember Dr. King and his vision for peace

Brooklyn Daily

He had a dream — and so do they!

Dozens of Ridgites came out to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on 75th Street and Fourth Avenue the night of Jan. 21 for a candlelight vigil to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. — and to promote his cause of nonviolence.

“It’s a way to show our respect for the points Dr. King made,” said Pastor Bob Emmerick of Bay Ridge United Methodist Church on Ovington Avenue between Third and Fourth avenues, who helped organize the event with the Peace Action Bay Ridge Interfaith Peace Coalition. “We need to learn to respect people enough to solve our problems without violence — and that has implications for everyone, everywhere, at all times.”

For Emmerick, the event — which involved an hour of candlelit silence, followed by prayer — had particular importance in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, and the pastor said he hoped to see a greater religious response to gun violence.

“The idea that guns and violence are just to be expected, we really have to start fighting against that and focus more on that,” said Emmerick. “The church especially has to start talking about what Jesus said and what God wants us to do, and it does not include violence.”

For co-organizer Pastor David Rommereim, the vigil was an opportunity to remember King’s late-life concerns with economic inequality, which Rommereim argued is a major obstacle to peace.

“In his later years, disparities in income was something he got very interested in,” he said. “Bridging some of these economic gaps, that would be a major step toward peace making.”

Former Democratic District leader Ralph Perfetto, who attended the vigil, had his mind on the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East — conflicts he claimed the United States should stop trying to solve militarily.

“We can’t keep going there and being the policeman of the world, and sending young people there to die, it’s wrong,” he said.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at

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