Editorial: Slowly we move toward King’s dream

Jan. 20, 2014 @ 11:05 PM

Monday’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day didn’t necessarily rock the masses in the Tri-County as far as holiday celebrations go.

Many events were held between Sunday and Monday, and there’s another today. But for significant, bring the whole community to one place types of events, this year’s holiday didn’t have it.

And that’s too bad. Call it an opportunity missed. And that’s not to discredit the events that were held.

But when we recall our history in the United States, our significant moments, our “Do you remember when?” times, the changes of the civil rights era clearly marked all generations.

King didn’t change the rules for minorities and majorities all by himself. He did play a significant role, so much so that he was wanted dead and eventually was assassinated.

Those who lived before the 1960s knew of a different time and place. Not all relationships between blacks and whites were adversarial, a distinction not everyone born after the 1960s truly realizes.

Similarly, those born after the 1960s have lived a life with integration only. They don’t fully comprehend drinking fountains, doors and places that are “whites only” or “blacks only.” History can be taught, but experiencing is very different.

King’s message, however, wasn’t linked only to the color of our skin. While it was a big part of what was happening in the movement, he wanted equality for all men and women regardless of much more than that. Wealth, religion or where someone was from had meaning, and he didn’t want that to separate us.

Today, those things are still capable of separating us, just as can the color of skin. We’ve made incredible progress. There’s been a good half-century of it.

And truly, for all the progress we’ve made, there is still so far to go.

The journey, King believed, needed to happen the right way. That was immensely important.

Though no one could truly know the full impact, King knew some grasp of the toll it could take on our country had to be part of the equation.

We’re still a work in progress, still handling the toll of the changes. And for each day that is better than the last, we move closer to King’s dream.