Living in Concord where MLK Day was actually Civil Rights Day I did not expect SPS to make such an extraordinary effort to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King. It was an all day event – no classes, no sports.
It wasn’t enough for us to know about Dr. King’s commitment and sacrifice for equality amongst all races. SPS not only wanted us to learn about his life and accomplishments but also expected us to evaluate the progress that has been made since his death. By seeing Dr. King’s vision in reference to our current state perhaps we could see how we could make a difference.
One of the events was a talk from the only Black trustee. He gave a presentation on a particular neighborhood that represented a place where Dr. King’s dream was unrealized. He put up pictures of children surrounded by large brown intimidating buildings on a sunless day and I recognized the environment as my own. He wanted to explain how the children of Brownsville did not have the same opportunities as Paulies.
I’ve never been so embarrassed. Did he know I was sitting in the auditorium? Did he mean to humiliate me? How could I ever tell anyone where I was from?
Now, as I walk through the paths created by the buildings in Brownsville I see the children in his images. Equality of race is no longer as big of an issue as equality of opportunity. We’re no longer at the base of the mountain but we shouldn’t turn around before we reach the top.