Yesterday’s Martin Luther King Day Celebration march through Eureka culminated with a standing room only event at the Adorni Center featuring a number of stirring speeches, musical performances and expressions of hopefulness.

(See the Outpost’s previous coverage of the day here.)

One of the speakers was Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills whose brief address was powerful enough to draw a standing ovation from the crowd. After requests for a copy, Chief Mills posted his slightly edited sentiments on the EPD blog. You can either read that, farther down, or listen to less-than-ideal audio here.

(AUDIO) Chief Mills on MLK Day

Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills

“Love that does not satisfy justice is no love at all. It is merely a sentimental affection, little more than one would have for a pet.”

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here, in Eureka we just marched together, we stood together and now we sit with one another unity. We have just demonstrated to the world that love can win, that a community can treat one another as each of us would and to be treated following the Golden Rule.

As marchers crossed the bridge in Selma, Alabama in 1965, they were met by police in riot gear. Today we crossed the bridge together, locked arm in arm, heart in heart, with the understanding that when one hurts we all hurt. As Eurekans we understand that lifting up the weakest among us, benefits us all. There is not a white America or black America, poor or wealthy America, but one America.

Today, I issue a challenge to all the people Eureka and Humboldt who believe in faith and justice; let’s get past sentimental affection and ensure justice in policing, the courts, education and housing. Let’s not see a person by anything other than a brother or sister in this ritual we call life.

I am asking you to intentionally and purposefully go out of your way to respect others and treat them kindly, so we can make the leap from sentimental affection to actionable love.

Small efforts can have a big effect. Saying hello, holding a door or shaking a hand. Each week, I am focused on doing an act to bring people closer. You can also.

As the biblical prophet Amos said, “Let justice roll like a river and righteousness like a mighty stream.” This is the beginning of justice…to demonstrate our righteousness.

MLK wrote from jail to fellow Christian preachers who were concerned that the protest were “untimely”, “Our destiny is tied up…with the destiny of America.” Humboldt, our destiny, our future is tied up with each other.