01/16/07 — Dream realized? There has been progress, but there is still work to be done

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Dream realized? There has been progress, but there is still work to be done

If he were still alive, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be be 78 years old today.

And decades after his “I have a dream ... “ speech, one has to wonder — would he be pleased with how we are conducting ourselves in 2007?

In some ways, he would. There have been major strides in the area of race relations — and while there are still problems to handle, there is more dialogue and less willingness to ignore the issues that still separate us.

So, we have realized a portion of his dream of people of all races being treated equally and respecting each other.

But to say that we have fixed the racial issues that have divided us for generations is to ignore that this particular job is one that still has some areas that need attention.

There is more opportunity for minorities, but there are also still obstacles to obtaining that chance to improve their lives. Some of those barriers are imposed by others — and some are related to personal responsibility. The same is true for many whites who have still not grasped that changing your circumstances sometimes necessitates taking a hard look at yourself.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached personal responsibility along with his message of peace and love for all men, women and children — no matter what their race.

As we remember him today, we should not forget that his battle against racial injustice also included a component of people helping each other and themselves.

There are some communities that celebrate his birthday by gathering together in service to others. That means they understood his message.

As we think back over where we have been and where we are going, we should make sure we understand Dr. King’s charge to all of us that day. That is how we truly honor him, not just on his birthday, but all year long.

Published in Editorials on January 16, 2007 12:09 PM