I attended the Dr. Martin Luther King Day March Down Main Street today in Milford, MIchigan. This was the 10th annual celebration of the King Holiday in Milford and I have to say that it was a disappointment on one level, but holds out great hope at another level. The disappointment is at the relatively low turnout and the obliviousness of the local population to this event. Several people stopped to ask what was going on when they saw the small crowd gathered in the Prospect Hill parking lot and when they saw the march kick off. That is unfortunate testimony to the lack of press coverage in this area and the general lack of appreciation and understanding of the work that Dr. King did and the importance to every community of diversity and acceptance of that diversity.
The hope that I saw for the future was the in the faces of the youth in attendance. There are people who were not there so much to honor Dr. King; after all they were not even born when he was leading the fight; they were there because they believe in the message that he delivered and the causes that he worked for – diversity, peace and non-violence. For them, this day was about believing in concepts as much as celebrating the life of one of the champion’s of those concepts. These are young people who are still willing to get out and march for something and against the prejudice and discrimination that they can still see all around them. These are the young who are willing to say that the job is not yet done and who are willing to take the baton and continue the fight.
There was disappointment at those drivers who were annoyed and impatient that they were inconvenienced and slowed by marchers through the downtown area; but, there was hope in the fact that those who marched and carried signs and listened to the speakers get the message that Dr. King lived and died to deliver. The “I have a dream” speech that Dr. King delivered on the Washington Mall was played as the parade progressed and one couldn’t help but believe that many of these youth share that dream. Because of that the dream will not die. The work is unfinished, but the dream is not over. Tomorrow is the official Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, but for today the dream lives on in Milford and the Huron Valley.