OMAK It’s more than just a day away from work or school – for many, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a chance to reflect on how far the U.S. has come in offering equal rights to citizens and what the future might bring.
After viewing King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in a Friday morning assembly, members of the Omak High School leadership class shared their own thoughts and hopes for the future.
“I have a dream that people will work hard and only expect what they deserve,” Hannah Love said.
Love urged her fellow students, all gathered in the Performing Arts Center, to recapture the work ethic for which Americans were once known.
“When we look at the average American, we hear complaint, not the ringing of a hammer,” Love said. “Are we so indignant now that we feel that working, truly working, is below us?”
She said people don’t prize creativity, and fellow students who work hard to educate themselves are often ridiculed. Another of her dreams, therefore, is “that misconceptions will dissolve.”
Hakikat Bains asked her peers to “speak with kindness and a meaningful heart.”
“If all else fails, give others a bright smile… and try to walk in their shoes for a while,” she said.
Her brother, Jag Bains, said he hopes one day people will stop judging others based on not only skin color, but on their faith, appearance and sexual orientation.
Karen Delgado said her dream is for people to stop being wasteful with their food.
“I realize that the simple act of throwing away your food may not mean much to you in the U.S.,” she said. “My dream is that one day, the people of this country will realize the opportunities that they are given.”
The Northern Desert Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, opened and closed the assembly with a flag ceremony.
Also on Friday, Omak Middle School humanities students performed skits and discussed the evolution of social justice in America’s history.
In Oroville, U.S. history students led an assembly Friday morning, and second- and third-graders performed U2’s “Pride (In the Name of Love),” a song written in honor of King.
Methow Valley Elementary, Liberty Bell High School and Nespelem School District also hosted assemblies last week. Other schools such as Bridgeport, Brewster and Paschal Sherman Indian School had classroom-based activities, including discussions of articles and videos about King and other social activists, including Nelson Mandela.
Elsewhere, Pateros Public Library planned a storytime and crafts Friday morning in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
In observance of the national Day of Service that the government declared in 1994 to honor King, the Okanogan Food Bank will be open Monday during its regular hours.
“This is not done every year but has been done in the past,” Okanogan County Community Action Council Executive Director Lael Duncan said.
The food bank, 424 S. Second Ave., will be open from 9-11 a.m.
Wenatchee Valley College students and community members are invited to attend a free event in celebration of King’s life at 10 a.m. Tuesday on the Wenatchee campus, 1300 Fifth St.
The event begins with a panel discussion of King’s legacy and issues of social justice locally, followed by a documentary presentation from noon to 3 p.m. of “Race: The Power of an Illusion.” Highline Community College instructor Darryl Brice will deliver a keynote speech at 3 p.m.
Monday marks the 31st annual observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
King, a key figure in the civil rights movement who advocated non-violent protests, was shot and killed April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tenn.