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January 21, 2014

Building on the dream

Attendees at Plattsburgh celebration mark King's legacy

PLATTSBURGH — This Martin Luther King Day, Plattsburgh City Councilor Joshua Kretser was reminded of how the civil-rights leader taught people they must work together to achieve positive change.

“Plattsburgh has been subjected to times of disappointment and adversity; however, during these times, we have found ways to put our differences aside and to come together to create what I believe to be an amazing place to live,” he told the crowd gathered at the Newman Center Monday afternoon for the annual community celebration sponsored by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission.

Kretser also pointed out King’s belief that what affects one person affects everyone.

“I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be,” he said, quoting the civil-rights activist.

The Ward 6 councilor then called on event attendees to continue working together to make the community “what it ought to be.”

IMPROVING LIVES

One reason it’s important to hold such an event in honor of King, State Sen. Betty Little told attendees, is to encourage and motivate people to make a difference.

“We can improve our lives, our community and certainly our country, and I think using the example of Dr. Martin Luther King will help all of as we go forward,” she said.

In the decades since King began advocating for civil rights, progress has been made, noted Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, but the job is not done.

Minorities, including women and people of color, are still paid less in many occupations than their white male counterparts, she told the crowd.

Reports of abuse and discrimination against women in the military are at an all-time high, Duprey continued, bullying occurs in schools and workplaces, and people with mental illnesses continue to be discriminated against.

“Dr. King’s dream that all people would one day be judged not by the color of their skin but by the quality of their character still holds true today, but in his honor and legacy, we must continue to extend that dream to include all people facing discrimination,” she said.

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