ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - We’ve reached the time when most people's views of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were not shaped in real-time, but instead shaped by those who were there to capture history.
Many young people were in the crowd and onstage for the 31st annual Governor’s Council King Day Celebration at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota.
“He fought for us all to be free to live equally, and to feel loved,” said a Maple Grove High School speaker. “Not everyone has a good heart, like Dr. King said, ‘darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.’”
Recently, students at Maple Grove High School looked to MLK for inspiration when they staged a walk-out protest after a hateful message was written on one of the school’s bathroom walls.
“It showed me that you shouldn't be fearful to stand in your truth,” a student said. “You shouldn't be fearful to do what's right. You shouldn't be fearful to make a change.”
Meanwhile, the impending change in the White House was an undercurrent to the event, with Senator Amy Klobuchar telling the crowd it's now more important to heed Dr. King's call to fight for what's right.
“He believed that America could live up to its fundamental promises if people suit up, spoke out and acted,” Klobuchar said.
The keynote speaker Caroline Wanga, Target's chief diversity officer, used King as an example to encourage people to push for change in their own lives by finding their own purpose.
“His training as an orator, his personal purpose… he leveraged that to motivate people to act. That may not be yours, but what is yours?” Wanga asked the crowd.
Decades pass, but the lessons of Dr. King and those who fought for civil rights still endure. Be bold stand in your convictions. The time is always, always right to do what's right.
Klobuchar also said today she will fight for the re-authorization of the Voting Rights Act, first passed in 1965 and a key achievement of the Civil Rights era.
It was last reauthorized in 2006. And in 2013, the Supreme Court threw out a key section of the Act when bipartisan efforts to update the law stalled in the last congress.