Group gathers to honor King
SUMMIT COUNTY – In Summit County, Martin Luther King Day means more traffic, more people on the slopes. There were no parades. Some had the day off, while many others went to work as usual.
But a small group of people gathered at Summit High School Monday night to watch Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech, honor the day, and discuss prejudice and equality in the 21st century.
“We just wanted to show tribute in what little way we could by participating,” said Troy Wineland of Summit Cove, who attended the diversity forum accompanied by his wife, Amy. “It’s so easy to celebrate these holidays and not think about why we have them.”
Several of the evening’s attendees said they came because years had passed since they had seen tapes of the speech, others because they had never seen it in its entirety. All said they came to honor and celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I was able to meet Dr. King in 1967 at the United Nations,” said Summit County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom. “He was there as a speaker, and I was there as a police officer … at the time, I don’t think I had a good grasp of how important he was to our nation. Today, it’s very fitting that we do what we can to remember his name and his actions.”
After watching the legendary speech, the group gathered around Kathy Reed, a Summit Cove resident who has been the forum leader for the past three years, and talked about racial inequality, prejudice, stereotypes and the continuing battle to overcome them.
In group discussions, it became clear that, almost 38 years after King spoke to his audience in Washington D.C., his speech still resonates with meaning and urgency for many. Several participants spoke of Sept. 11, the resulting shift in racial profiling and the United States’ “dehumanizing” of the terrorists as continued examples of how the more things change, the more they stay the same.
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