Belafonte preaches to the choir at Legal Aid’s 100th anniversary gala

The Maryland Legal Aid Bureau celebrated its centennial anniversary Saturday night in Baltimore and keynote speaker Harry Belafonte struck a beautiful chord. Both Belafonte and Legal Aid Executive Director Wilhelm Joseph actually sang together on stage. Belafonte entertained the crowd but also offered serious sentiments stemming from his experience as an international human rights activist. The message was right on time for an organization reenergized around a human rights framework. Belafonte acknowledged that he was “preaching to the choir.” But he quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, saying, “it’s important that you preach to the choir because if you don’t they could stop singing.” Concerned over America’s “moral compass,” Belafonte expressed disappointment over how the federal government is addressing the plight of the poor and disadvantaged and also called for a change to current terrorism policies, including an end to rendition. He not only related his experience as a friend of Dr. King and as an advisor to the Kennedys but also discussed the “void” those legends filled during the Civil Rights Movement, pointing out the current void has yet to be filled.

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