A Day for Dr. King: Where Are We Now?

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On this Monday, we join the nation in celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. With the social and political climate of today's world, many are taking King's dream to heart to advance his legacy in a new context for the times.

Observed on the third Monday of January each year, MLK Day is one of four federal holidays that commemorate an individual person. While it is a day off for schools and many businesses and government offices, it's a day 'on' for furthering the spirit of volunteerism.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Life's most urgent and persistent question is: what are you doing for others?"

President Obama echoed this sentiment in an address at Vermont Avenue Baptist Church Sunday morning [VIDEO] , to a congregation that filled the room where Dr. King himself once espoused the importance of goodwill towards the common man.

"So here we are, more than half a century later, once again facing the challenges of a new age. Here we are, once more marching toward an unknown future, what I call the Joshua generation to their Moses generation -- the great inheritors of progress paid for with sweat and blood, and sometimes life itself…

At the core of King's success was an appeal to conscience that touched hearts and opened minds, a commitment to universal ideals -- of freedom, of justice, of equality -- that spoke to all people, not just some people... Progress will only come if we're willing to promote that ethic of hard work, a sense of responsibility, in our own lives."

However, most Americans believe we are still short of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of a day when men and women of all races would have equal opportunity in America. According to a Rasmussen poll , 56% said we have not reached that day.

What do you think? How much progress have we made, and how far do we have to go? How has Dr. King's legacy influences your life? Please leave your comments at the bottom of the page.

MLK Events Around the Mid-South:

Volunteer Mid-South and partnering agencies hosted several service projects in the community. Some projects include city beautification with Clean Memphis, Shelby Farms, and GrowMemphis, school revitalization at Cypress Middle School, KIPP Diamond Academy, and Memphis Academy of Health Sciences, as well as cleaning at St. Peter Manor and Hope House. For more information about volunteer opportunities throughout the year, visit www.volunteermidsouth.org.

The National Civil Rights Museum has a reduced $2 admission for the holiday, including the new exhibit "Soul Soldiers" which commemorates the Black Experience in the Vietnam War.

The Grizzlies is hosting the Eighth Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Game and Celebration when they host the Phoenix Suns, and will honor NBA legends Oscar Robertson and Alonzo Mourning for their contributions to civil and human rights. Tip-off is at 4:30pm, tickets are still available.


 

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