Letters to the Editor - Jan. 11
Published: Monday, January 11, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 8, 2010 at 10:33 p.m.
A silver anniversary
It's been 26 years since Rodney Long first organized the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, dedicated to preserving the King's legacy of non-violent social change.
It's been 25 years since the commission sponsored the first week-long celebration of King's birthday in Gainesville. This year marks the event's silver anniversary.
Long cautions the participants in the King birthday celebration not to expect the first black president, Barack Obama, to solve all their problems. "As keepers of the dream," he says, "it is our responsibility to address injustice everywhere."
As examples of local injustice he notes that only about 37 percent of the African-American students in public schools will graduate from high school.
On Saturday an Educational Summit will be held from 8 a.m. to noon at the Martin Luther King Center, 1028 N.E. 14th St. The commission will again partner with the African American Accountability Alliance, a countywide black community action group, and the school board and others to address the achievement gap, the graduation rate and the infusion of black history into the K-12 curriculum. The meeting is open to the public.
Among the MLK Commission's noteworthy accomplishments in its 25 years:
Awarded more than $52,500 in scholarships to high school seniors.
Created an $8,000 Educational Endowment with Santa Fe College for burned-out residents of Kennedy Homes apartment complex.
Provided community workshops on diversity, restoration of civil rights and other important community issues.
Created partnership with UF president's office to provide Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for needy county residents.
More than 30 miles of U.S. 441 through Alachua County was re-named Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Highway.
Completed an obelisk honoring Dr. King which stands in the MLK Jr. Memorial Gardens in front of city hall.
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