Friday, April 27, 2007

A Dream Coming to Fruition

Even though it has been 39 years since the death of Martin Luther King Jr., his memory still holds the power to bring diverse peoples together, united in the vision of justice, freedom and equality for all.
On Jan. 17, Michael Thurmond, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Labor, lead the “Reflecting, but Always Moving Forward: Celebrating the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” event at GSC.
GSC President Martha Nesbitt graciously introduced Thurmond, noting that his efforts have contributed to the immense success of the Georgia Department of Labor. “It has the number 1 national ranking in helping the unemployed get back to work,” said Nesbitt.
Thurmond opened the remembrance ceremony by pointing out the fruition of King’s infamous dream.
“We, of different racial, ethnic, religious and political persuasion have gathered on common ground, under a common roof, for a common purpose.” Thurmond said.
The central theme of the event was to convey to the audience what King’s memory and dream mean for people today. Thurmond quoted from the last speech King gave before he was assassinated.
“’He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the Promised Land,’” recited Thurmond.
Thurmond compared King to the Old Testament’s Moses, who led the Israelites to the threshold of the Promised Land. Although Moses did not cross over, the people did. Thurmond reminded that the torch of racial harmony must continue to be passed on from generation to generation, if the human race is going to enter a discrimination-free “Promised Land”.
The context and tone of King’s last speech was akin to the Bible’s Samson, who stood between the mighty temple pillars, bursting with one last surge of strength to tear them down. Although the pillars of segregation came crashing down upon King, they came down nonetheless. The present generation of young people stands in the ruins with the tools to “build bridges,” as Thurmond put it, across the various racial divides that remain.
“We must continue to build bridges between blacks and whites, men and women, democrats and republicans,” encouraged Thurmond.
While King delivered the fatal blow to “enforced segregation”, Thurmond addressed the present problem of “self-segregation,” where each race, religion and ethnicity voluntarily separates themselves from those that differ.
“If you really want to celebrate Martin Luther King, introduce yourself to someone different. You should not leave this college the way you came,” challenged Thurmond.
Thurmond conveyed the necessity to engage with people of different racial, religious and political persuasions.
“America is finally becoming the melting pot it always bragged it was. It has the most diverse workforce in history, so we must learn to deal with people who are different,” he said.
In addition to honoring the life and achievements of King, Thurmond emphasized the legacy King laid before the future generations’ feet.
“We have come not only to celebrate, but to rededicate ourselves, so that his dream will become a reality,” closed Thurmond.

1 comment:

William Lecorchick said...

It looks like MLK has a stump for a hand!