Today we pause to remember the life and legacy of one of
America's greatest sons — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Celebrations are unfolding across the city.
For those searching for ways to memorialize the holiday, Mayor Greg Ballard
Greg Ballardoffered a couple suggestions at a ceremony held Friday at the
-Visit the Peace Memorial
Memorialat MLK Park on North Broadway – where Robert Kennedy broke
the news to Indianapolis of King's assassination.
-Read to your children or have them listen to the
"I Have a Dream Speech"
King would have been 83 on Jan. 15. Dead now for 44 years,
Ballard noted, he's been gone longer than he was with us.
"Two generations have now grow up since his passing ... As
time marches on, it's important that children understand the role Dr. Martin Luther King played
in our country's coming of age," Ballard said. "Now more than ever,
he must continue on as an inspiration."
The keynote speaker at the city's MLK event, Rev. Mel
Jackson, said that, while the nation is out of the starting gate on the road to
realizing King's dream, "we are not there yet."
Jackson's address centered on what he called " a caste
system of incarceration," in which people of color and low-income people
of all races can become trapped, unable to reintegrate into society after
completing a sentence because of lack of job and housing opportunities or the
inability to pay re-entry or maintenance fees.
"It's a great country, but we can do better,"
Jackson said. "America, we can do better. Indiana, we can do better.
Indianapolis, we can do better."
He concluded by saying: "Let freedom ring in our hearts
today ... Let the peace of God rain in and direct our lives as — as we join
together, hand in hand, across every barrier that limits the privilege and
opportunities to be the best that they can be."
Jackson's mentor, Deputy Mayor of Neighborhoods Olgen Williams
Williams, summarized the substance of one of the most important lessons he'd
learned from the reverend about King's legacy of service.
"He taught me not to be a hater, a blocker or a knocker
... there's plenty of them," he said. "Be a doer."
In honor of that ideal, Mayor Ballard recognized the work of
J.R. Dalton, who uses the proceeds from his various businesses to fund a food
pantry and a soup kitchen.