Blogs > Fresh Ink

Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Keeping King's Dream Alive

When commemorative dates like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday rolls around, it's a reminder to journalists to focus on the subject -- and also an embarrassing reminder about how little is done as a matter of course the rest of the year.
Attitudes and opportunities have advanced dramatically over the last 40 years. I distinctly remember a former white co-worker who was my parents' age expressing disgust and anger when he saw a mixed-race couple -- a black man and a white woman -- walking down the street in Saratoga Springs. He's long gone, and I don't know if his attitudes have softened with time. He wasn't alone in his abhorrence and wouldn't be to this day.
Thankfully, most of society has moved forward. And now we have a self-described black man -- the son of a black man and a white woman -- who is a contender for the Democratic nomination of president of the United States.
I wish Martin Luther King had lived to see this day.
Closer to home, the lessons of tolerance and equal opportunities were brought home by local students whose teachers were encouraged to have them write essays based on King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech. I was honored to be asked to review the high school students' essays and select a couple to be honored for "editor's choice" recognition.
In addition Harriet Finch, who was overseeing the essay project, shared with me some of the essays written by younger students. One girl wrote: “Before this assignment, I didn’t know anything about the horrible conditions and mistreatment of blacks in the south. I was just glad to have another day off. Now I am forever changed. Starting with me ... my family will not tolerate discrimination.”
Attention, parents and teachers. No further proof is needed of the value of talking and teaching about race relations, tolerance, and Martin Luther King


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home