The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his “I Have a Dream” speech on Aug. 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Credit: Library of Congress

On the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, I was pleased to see ways in which individuals and communities in America honored Dr. King and his pursuit of peace, equality and brotherhood. I thought of the lyrics of the poem/song America the Beautiful that I heard on that day in a recording by Ray Charles.

“America, America, God shed his grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.”

I was elated to watch elementary school children, teenagers and college students celebrating and honoring Dr. King’s life and his mission. This made me recall that Evanston had a Youth Commission years ago that had a Youth Advisory Board, which was made up of high school students.  Members of the board took seriously their mission to advocate for good citizenship and to give the Youth Commission information and views from young people. Board members sometimes visited and shared their talents and goodwill with senior residents.

I was sad to learn that there were people shot during an MLK Day gathering in Fort Pierce, Florida. A police officer there said: “It’s really sad in a celebration of someone who represented peace and equality that a disagreement results in a use of guns and violence to solve that disagreement.” I agree. Guns are too accessible, and tempers are too out of control.

Encouraging was the news coverage of a meeting in North Carolina between an African American woman and the white parents of a boy whose heart had been transplanted into the woman. The parents listened to their son’s heart beat in the woman. The parents and the woman will continue to be friends. I am sure that a white person giving a lifesaving organ to an African American would please Dr. King.

Dr. King’s holiday is over, but let us embrace his mission every day, not just on his holiday. May we all pursue peace, equality and brotherhood in America and beyond.

Peggy Tarr

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...

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