Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech still applies today, the Rev. Lawrence Ragland told a crowd Monday on the Kansas University campus.
“We’ve come a long ways, but we still have a ways to go,” said the pastor of Progressive Baptist Church in Paris, Tenn., who delivered the keynote address at the 25th annual community King Day program at Woodruff Auditorium.
The country still faces race issues, and with the down economy and even last week’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, Ragland said, people need to work together at home and across the world.
“What I’m going to encourage people to do on this King holiday is to reach out more to do service for others because it’s so important,” he said. “And that was Dr. King’s greatest ambition for everyone, to help someone else along the way.”
King, the civil rights icon, would have turned 81 last Friday, and the nation celebrates his legacy the third Monday of every January. Some people in Lawrence used their day off for community service.
Several people gathered for a Habitat for Humanity workday on a home at 215 Comfort Lane.
“It’s part of the community-building effort that I think makes any place that we are a better place if we work together,” said Mark Brooks, Habitat’s construction manager.
More than 120 people attended the Ecumenical Fellowship Inc. celebration at the Kansas Union. Organizers honored the Rev. William A. Dulin, who is stepping down as chairman of the King celebration.
As Ragland encouraged the crowd to help others, especially young people through mentoring organizations, Lawrence-area leaders said the country has made strides since the 1960s. But there are still issues to tackle.
“(Progress) always reveals the next challenge to come,” Lawrence Mayor Rob Chestnut said.