By Katherine Ayers
Friday, January 25, 2013
Making Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream a reality requires action, according to the National Urban League president who spoke at East Carolina University Wednesday evening in honor of King’s birthday.
“Visualization of Dr. King’s dream is more than celebrating his work and his eloquence,” Marc Morial said. “It must be active in the present.”
Morial asked audience members to imagine travelling back in time to 1963 to witness events of that year first hand.
“Our time machine would land on Jan. 1 in Washington, D.C., as people were celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation,” Morial said. “From there it would travel to Birmingham, Ala., in the spring and land in an environment where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was in a jail cell, writing on toilet paper and tissue paper and scraps of paper his ‘Letters from a Birmingham Jail.’”
Morial used the back-and-forth juxtapositions between the March on Washington-type events where 250,000 people came in support of President John F. Kennedy’s Civil Rights legislation as well as events, like the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church where four girls were killed when dynamite placed under the church exploded, to explain that change did not come easy.
“Those in the time machine would be transported to a year of celebration but would understand that with all the good, there was violence, there was loss of life and there were attacks,” he said. “When we came back to 2013, I guarantee the challenges of this time, this day, would look small and the hurdles low for this generation.”
If King could travel forward in time to see today’s landscape, Morial said King would see “much to be proud of, but he’d see so much of his work undone.”
“He would see a Congress with record numbers of women, African-Americans, Latinos and Asians and he’d join the many in celebrating Barack Obama,” Morial said. “But he’d look out, this apostle of nonviolence, at a nation with 30,000 gun deaths a year and he’d see that since 1982 there have been 61 mass shootings (of more than four people at one time).”
Morial challenged everyone in the audience to “confront the 21st century challenges.”
“When we visualize this dream today, we must tackle the issues of community safety and gun violence,” he said. “To be true apostles of nonviolence, we have to take steps today to ensure a more peaceful nation here at home.”
The event was sponsored by ECU’s Office of Equity and Diversity, the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center, Student Activities Board, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Collegiate 100.
Contact Katherine Ayers at email@example.com and 252-329-9567. Follow her on Twitter @KatieAyersGDR.
via The Daily Reflector.