Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

                                                          by Rev. Laura Barclay
 Yesterday, I attended a Martin Luther King, Jr., march in downtown Winston-Salem. We sang songs along the route from Mount Zion Baptist Church to Winston-Salem State University. It would have been easy for us to end there, pat ourselves on the back for getting together as a community and call it a day. Instead, the march led us to the first-annual program sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr., Coalition (made up of several local non-profit groups). This group realized that we could take some extra time to further MLK’s dream of a just and equal society.

We all filed into Anderson Auditorium and listened to community leaders talk about problematic issues in our neighborhoods before we broke up into workshops. One leader shared that while the 2008 infant-mortality rate was at an all time low in North Carolina, it was at a 15-year high in Winston-Salem. The workshops covered topics from the Racial Justice Act to inequities in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Schools. Once the brief educational sessions concluded, attendees helped leaders come up with action plans to move forward on the issues. People made commitments to continue to meet, contact city leaders, and increase parental involvement in their schools. Additional meetings will take place throughout the spring with a progress report meeting in May.

This group realized that it’s easy to remember and be grateful for Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s even easier to think that we’ve already accomplished his dream. The challenging work is to roll up our sleeves, become educated about problems that effect people in our community, and work toward positive change. What is your community doing to make King’s dream a reality? What can you do to help?

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