Allow Freedom to Ring right here at home

More than 50 years ago, the Rev. Martin Luther King delivered his historical speech at the “March on Washington.”

In that speech, King talked about what he called a “promissory note” written by the architects of our Republic in the Declaration of Independence. The note was a promise that “all men — yes Black men as well as white men — would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

King announced then that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.

It’s fair to say, America has come a long way during the 50 plus years on making good on that promissory note. But it also would be fair to say, we as a nation, are still struggling with race issues. And many of us are getting all caught up in the controversial words coming out of the White House.

It’s really difficult to make sense of it all.

However, like politics, progress starts locally. During this time of honoring King, perhaps more progress in racial equality and respect will be made by educating ourselves. While several King events were already held this weekend and Monday, there are other opportunities this week.

Today Southwest Minnesota State University students will present “A Visual Tour of MLK’s Legacy and Beyond: A Collection of Visual Projects. 6-8 p.m. in the Center for Civic Engagement. BA 161. Poet Glenn North from Kansas City will also give a reading.

Storytelling and readings by SMSU and Marshall community members will be from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday in a program titled “No Racism Aloud!” It will be in Charter Hall 201.

On Thursday, “Facing our Truth: 10-Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege” will be at both 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. In the Black Box Theater, Fine Arts, room 112. This event features six 10-minute plays read by SMSU students.

Let us remember those famous words from King:

“When we allow freedom to ring — when we let it ring from every city and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last, Free at last, Great God a-mighty, We are free at last.’ “

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