Last week started with our community coming together for the Martin Luther King, Jr. march up Frederica Street to Brescia University. The week ended for us Saturday at our legislative update. Both were reminders for me of our real purpose here in life — to serve one another and to love one another even when it may be difficult.
The MLK event was the best attended one I recall. And that goes back some time. The hundreds who gathered were of different colors, faiths, economic backgrounds and political affiliations. There were small children, teens, college students, young adults, people my age and seniors. We all gathered to celebrate an idea that one person really can make a difference.
We all know at least a portion of Dr. King’s story. But I had forgotten the chapter of his life where he travelled to Connecticut to work in tobacco fields in order to pay for his college. On his bus ride there, he noticed something remarkable. Black passengers in the south sat in the back of the bus, but as the bus went further north, he noticed black passengers sat in the middle and finally, in the north, black passengers were actually in the front. It was a moment he never forgot. His short time in Connecticut helped create the young man who became a civil rights icon. He saw the way things could be and was determined to make that count.
So what if MLK had decided to finish school and just move north and start his life? Would we have ever seen the changes in the past decades that we have seen?
I am proud to be from Owensboro, Ky. I sat in a room on Monday with people who live in my community. I live in their community. We belong to one another. Last week, many were happy with the shift in political power and many were not. But regardless, here we are with one another in Owensboro.
Let’s make 2017 — our 200 year anniversary — a year that counts. I thought it was poetic that the speaker on Monday used the words of Theodore Roosevelt to describe what King did, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Let’s get to it.
By Candance Brake President and CEO Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce