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Our Opinion: A glowing message

January 14, 2002

It's been more than three decades since Martin Luther King Jr.'s life was snuffed out by an assassin's bullet. But the bullet that ended his life could not kill his message of passive resistance, brotherhood and equality from echoing across the nation.

Today his message continues its journey into our hearts and minds. We urge parents to make sure their sons and daughters understand why they have the day off from school today. It's a day when we need to take time to consider King's words, talk about those teachings with our children and ponder whether his dream of racial equality has come true. And while kids and others may have today off from school or work, next Monday actually is the federal holiday in King's honor, so we can take that day to reaffirm the message we teach today.

In schools these days our children are mostly colorblind, as they attend classes with children of all races and ethnicities and make friends with others without race or ethnicity playing a role. That is particularly true in our Imperial Valley, where we have people of all colors and various blends. If it bothers you to be surrounded by people of color, the Imperial Valley is not the place for you, and most racists soon leave.


In America these days there is opportunity for all people to succeed if they are willing to work hard to achieve their dreams. Success to a large degree depends on the character of the individual rather than their skin color or on what first language they speak. People can live as neighbors in multicultural neighborhoods where they share a common bond of wanting to see their children grow up in a peaceful world.

Still, we cannot let down our guard and believe that equality exists without exception, that we have reached the mountaintop. King had a dream. We have heard that dream and we have grown, but we are not there yet. We are not free from prejudice. We can do better. We must do better.

We must teach ourselves and our children to judge each other on actions and never on the color of our skin, what language we speak, what religion we practice, whether we are male or female and what people we choose to love.

We have seen what can happen when we allow prejudice to get the best of us. It is ugly. The results can be deadly.

King was one man who preached brotherhood, who stood up and spoke the truth when he knew doing so could jeopardize his life. Today it is not as hard to speak out about brotherhood because the path has been paved by Martin Luther King Jr. We just have to continue to follow it and allow it to lead us in the right direction.

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