Realizing the dream in Suffolk

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Suffolk News-Herald

In his famous &uot;I Have a Dream&uot; speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of his hopes that one day his children would not be judged by the color of their skin but by their character.

Today, when Dorothy Brinkley looks at her city’s youngest, she can see that it shines true.

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&uot;Children see no color,&uot; Brinkley said. &uot;I see them in kindergarten and in their youngest school years, and I see that they all get along. Children may get fight sometimes, but they get along. I can see his dream prevailing. I wish that grownups would model their lives around their children.&uot;

Next Monday, they’ll have a chance to do so; the citywide Martin Luther King Day celebration will be held at Lakeland High School. Since 1989, the event has helped educate Suffolkians of all ages about King’s life and dreams.

&uot;It’s important, because it’s a time for youth to get involved,&uot; said Vanessa Savage of the event’s planning committee, of which Brinkley is president. &uot;Children really need to know about Dr. King because of the things he did and the issues he was fighting for.&uot;

The event is to begin at 11 a.m. Students who won the &uot;Striving to Reach Dr. Martin Luther King’s Dream,&uot; essay contest will read their entries. Carolyn Harris of the Suffolk Education Foundation, who won the &uot;I Have A Dream,&uot; award last year, will announce the 2005 winner.

Bishop C.V. Russell, pastor of the Mount Caramel Baptist Church in Norfolk, will be the speaker for the event. A choir will also perform.

&uot;As a former educator turned minister,&uot; said Bernice Viscillian, who taught in Pennsylvania before moving south, &uot;my motive for being involved is to promote diversity and understand injustice.

&uot;As a Christian, we know Jesus encouraged us to focus on justice and equality the way he did. We feel obligated to follow in his tracks to help the poor and the marginalized, the ones that have to go without.&uot;