MLK CELEBRATION | Events and other comments

mlk celebration

Events and other comments

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his now famous “I Have a Dream” speech on Aug. 28, 1963. 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington, where King spoke.

Aug. 24: “Realize the Dream March and Rally” will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lincoln Memorial with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The march will follow the historic 1963 route. A Global Freedom Festival will be from 2 to 6 p.m. that day on the National Mall. Among speakers are the Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King, III, the families of Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till, Congressman John Lewis and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

Aug. 28: A march on the actual date of the original event will be at 9:30 a.m. and be led by the Civil Rights Museum on Wheels. “March for Jobs and Justice” rallies will be at the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Justice.

Valley representation: Youngstown Martin Luther King Planning Committee confirms two buses, each with 55 people, and a possible third bus will travel to the Aug. 24 march. Jaladah Aslam, president of Youngstown-Warren Black Caucus, is a trip coordinator. Aslam said the Valley organization is sponsoring the trip because of the “historical significance” of the event and “to be part of preserving the legacy of Dr. King.” She continued King’s dream of a “color-blind society” remains something for which to strive. Aslam said since the time of King’s speech in 1963, there’s been a “closing of the gap” in opportunities for people of color. As a union negotiator with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, Aslam has worked for economic equality for some 30 years. Union members participating in the bus trip, she said, represent a “cross section of America,” a mix of blacks and whites.

Ring bells: The King center ( is asking communities worldwide to participate in a bell-ringing ceremony at 3 p.m. Aug. 28 (or 3 p.m. in their respective time zones) to remember King’s speech. He concluded his speech with the call to “let freedom ring” and cited regions of the country.

Greater Warren-Youngstown Urban League: Thomas Conley, president and chief executive officer, said King’s dream has not been reached. Recent Supreme Court decision to lift voting guidelines for states and the outcome of the trial of George Zimmeran in the Trayvon Martin case are two examples of why not. “African Americans and other minorities have gained a lot and moved into middle-class America,” he said, but he added the situation of “have and have nots” remains. “The have-nots are in a continual struggle,” he said. Just reaching the 50th anniversary of King’s speech and “race remaining a relevant topic” is a problem, he said. In the Valley, he continued, the “dream” will be realized when there are equal opportunities and access to jobs for all.

Youngstown National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: Steven Mickel, president, said he views King’s speech in a broad context in relation to the well-known phrase “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. In the 1960s, he said, “the strife was racial ... black and white.” “I believe we have made strides forward and they are because, in part, of generational changes,” he said. “Younger generations have more tolerance and more interpersonal relationships,” he said, citing their race-to-race experience is different. He emphasized that those interpersonal relationships will lead to the lessening of racial strife. He said Americans must truly embrace the ideals and standards set forth in the Declaration and U.S. Constitiution to become one nation.

Information: www.50thanniversarymarch

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