We renew King’s call for unity, equality

Today, on this holiday, we ask how can we better follow the example and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?

Area clergy and Valley leaders told our reporter last week that in light of events in the past 12 months that included upheaval in our nation’s capital or that led to Black Lives Matter protests nationwide and in our Mahoning Valley, there still is much work to do.

King dedicated his life to service to our nation and in a fight for equality. But King never lived to see that racial unity. Today, more than 50 years after his death, we remember and renew his call for unity, equality and service.

After all this nation has endured, incredibly, racial division and discrimination remain prevalent in America — the place where all men, all people, supposedly were created equal.

Lea Dotson of Warren, one of the founders of IVote Black, a political organization formed in Warren in 2020 that focuses on making sure political leaders and organizations work on issues affecting black communities and their progress, says we’ve come a long way since the days of MLK, but we still have far to go.

Dotson and other area leaders pointed out in a Sunday article that systemic racism still exists and affects minority communities nationwide.

It’s undeniable that blacks still face the lingering effects of discrimination in many fronts — jobs, housing, education and more. Working-class Americans see a growing gap as they struggle to climb the ladder to prosperity. The re-emergence of white supremacist groups brings flashbacks of ugliness.

And while we may want to believe that race relations are better now, Dotson points out as it becomes increasingly more taboo to express openly racist ideas, many people became more covert in sharing their racist opinions. “Racism never really left,” she said.

On this day, we all should make a pact, a promise to ourselves, that we will, for the good of our community, for the good of our society, make a true effort to see life through the eyes of others, particularly through the eyes of people of other race and color. Understanding — or seeking to understand — just might be a step toward erasing racism.

In realizing that the cause of justice would be waged over the long arc of history, King wrote this: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

King saw the good in people. His inspiration was powerful because it was real. He knew the burden of hate would turn on itself and that every American would have a role in starting a new path of equal opportunity for all.

Today, in a nation still sharply divided, let us try harder to live his message, legacy and hope for unity, equal opportunity and respect.



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