Education key to King’s vision
By Sean Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org
A proclamation from the city of Amarillo was presented to 6- year-old Karien Garza as part of Monday’s celebration in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
But what will Garza know about the bus boycott, of King’s work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the protests in Birmingham, Ala., and his more than 20 arrests?
Those who marched Monday – in fewer numbers, but with no less enthusiasm than King’s marches – said they would work to educate the younger generations to make sure King’s legacy wasn’t sequestered to the annals of forgotten history.
“The importance is unity and equality for all people,” said Idella Jackson , executive committee member of the NAACP, which organized the event in its eighth year. “The dream is still alive and needed today. We are making some progress, but we still have some to go.”
The road and hurdles ahead were embodied in every part of Monday’s event that brought out more than 150 people to march.
Iris Lawrence , a former Potter County commissioner, remembers segregated Amarillo. She remembers the sit-in at Paramount Theater and ending up in jail with her father and fellow protesters.
“I’ve just kept fighting, pushing in my own little way,” Lawrence said. “It’s good to see we can do these things now … Many of us then didn’t know we were suffering. It was the way it was.”
Even the music for the event spoke of doing more, that there was still much left to be attained. Soldiers of the Lord performed “Yes” by Shekinah Glory Ministry. The lyrics of the song call for those listening to do more: “He’s calling you higher … there is more I require of thee.”
Some milestones already have been reached.
Michael Jackson , a basketball and football coach and history teacher for Palo Duro High School, said the presidential race was one example.
Nominees for their party, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney, are examples of King’s dream, Jackson said.
“They are different in color, in gender and religion, but they are judged by their character,” Jackson said. “His words have been turned into reality.”
The work that remains is integrating the communities into a cohesive Amarillo, whereas Amarillo is still separated, Jackson said.
Milton Jones, pastor for Amarillo South Church, brought some of his staff and congregation to the march and afternoon ceremony.
Jones hosted an MLK impersonator who had performed King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech, with several black churches in attendance.
“We had some great fellowship,” Jones said. “We need to be crossing over and starting new relationships.”
Lisa Harris takes the day seriously. She took her children out of school to make sure they could march and attend the event.
“I took them out because it is too important. This is a national holiday,” Harris said. “I want them to be involved in the celebration.”
Harris said she is working to make sure her children know about King and his work, often supplementing what she said the schools leave off.
“It was taught when I was in school because it was close. They are so far removed,” she said.
“I don’t want to take for granted all the work he did.”