Living the Dream

I was sitting at a table with a fellow prisoner more than 20 years ago. We were taking a break from our work in the staff kitchen, smoking cigarettes and talking about some forgotten subject. The room we were in was one of the few places where I could relax, since it was a restricted area and usually quiet. One of his friends walked into the room, paused, and stared at us for a few seconds. He made a comment about talking to a white guy, a “cracker.” My coworker, who was black, just laughed and said, “We’re living the dream of Dr. King.”

I had of course heard of Dr. King, but in that world his influence and ideas seemed pretty far away most of the time.

In King’s Hometown, the Sights, the Sounds and the Mood on his Day

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a blossoming movement rose forth to recognize the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a federally observed holiday, culminating with more than six million people signing a petition to Congress. In 1986, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was first celebrated, three years after President Ronald Reagan signed a bill authorizing the third Monday in January as a federal holiday. According to 2007 statistics, however, only a third of the nation’s employers give their employees the day off for the federal holiday, and it wasn’t until 2000 that every state in the union recognized the date as an official state holiday. Nor is the official terminology consistent throughout the country, with Arizona and New Hampshire celebrating the date as “Martin Luther King. Jr. Civil Rights Day” and Mississippi recognizing the day as a co-celebration of the lives of both King and Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Prevention Group Works On ‘Battle Plan’ To Stop Deadly Teen Violence

The violent deaths of two metro Atlanta teenagers a week apart – allegedly at the hands of peers – has sparked a debate among members of a local violence prevention organization. Members of the Metropolitan Atlanta Violence Prevention Partnership (MAVPP), discussed the tragedies, and more specifically how to thwart similar ones, during its monthly meeting this week. The partnership, a who’s who of more than 200 local violence prevention groups, boasts a diverse membership that spans the spectrum from the Emory (University) Injury Control Center (EICC) and the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, local churches and law enforcement agencies. Attendees batted around an array of ideas Tuesday, including implementing large-scale community reform initiatives along with anger management counseling and expanded educational opportunities for young people and their parents. “I’d like to see more intervention aimed at the community,” says Shakiyla Smith, EICC deputy director.