PORTSMOUTH — The third Monday in January of each year is designated in the United States as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, made official when President Reagan signed the bill in 1983. Senator Sherrod Brown and community leaders share their thoughts on the country’s progress with King’s dream.
On Aug. 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, King delivered the historical speech, in which he is quoted as saying, “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown D-Ohio, scheduled to address an audience at the 31st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Breakfast held in Columbus on the national holiday, said in a news release that the work towards King’s dream is not finished.
“Of course, we know our work isn’t yet finished. Too many hardworking Americans are still struggling, and too often they face barriers related to the color of their skin or the zip code in which they were born, not the content of their character,” Brown said.
Regarding King’s dream, Reverend Margaret Tyson, Pastor of Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Portsmouth and Quinn Chapel AME in Ironton, said the dream has not been kept.
“Dr. Kings’ dream has not been kept. It has not been met, and the reality is that this country has been laboring under the false assumption that with the election of President Obama parity had been achieved; but the divide has widened while being camouflaged by good intentions,” Tyson said.
Wendy Jones, President of the Federated Democratic Women of Scioto County, said King’s the country has still has progress to make in terms of achieving King’s dream.
“In the years since Dr. King was murdered, we have made great strides toward his vision of equality, justice and non-violence. But it saddens me to realize we still have so far to go,” Jones said. “Recently it seems as though we have regressed a little into a more open expression of racism, sexism, ethnic hatred and injustice. Dr. King’s teachings are as needed today as they were in the sixties.”
Overseer David Malone, Pastor of Kingdom Builders Evangelistic Ministries, Inc., said continuity will bring King’s dream into full manifestation.
“Of course this year’s theme locally is, ‘Reigniting the Dream,’ so I think we need to keep it ignited, and light the torch again, and keep moving forward with it until we are able to accomplish some projects, ideas, and thoughts that it will take to accomplish the dream,” Malone said.
The remainder of the local Dr. King Scholarship Committee events consist of the following:
Monday, Jan. 18 – Workshops from 10 a.m. until noon at the 14th Street Community Center, Portsmouth.
Monday, Jan. 18 – Winter Picnic from noon until 1 p.m., 14th Street Community Center, Portsmouth.
Monday, Jan. 18 – Performing Arts and Scholarship Awards at 7 p.m., 14th Street Community Center.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.