Our Opinion: A timely reminder that King’s dream is too long deferred
Dave DiFilippo cartoon
THUMBS UP to the Wilson MLK Commission for bringing Wilson residents together in spirit at a time when surging COVID-19 infection rates prevented us from coming together in person.
The virus scuttled Wilson’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast, but the commission recorded a video allowing community members to reflect on King’s life and legacy in their own homes.
Commission Chairman Roosevelt Etheridge Jr., member Tawanda Moore and scholarship committee Chairwoman Linda Barnes offered wise words, as did U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield.
Click the play button below to watch the 2022 Wilson MLK Commission program.
Moore, who became the first Black woman elected to lead Elm City as its mayor in November, challenged viewers to continue working toward King’s dream of racial equality and said our communities, our state and our nation can’t be content with the often glacial pace of progress.
“Here we are 50-plus years later as African Americans still trying our best to honor the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and keep hope alive, but if we were to be honest with ourselves, how much hope do we have if we allow a dream to be deferred?” Moore said. “How much hope do we have if we cease to wake up? Today I must pose the question: Aren’t you tired of dreaming?”
Moore assessed the state of King’s dream with a reference to Langston Hughes’ poem, “Harlem.” The famous verse asks the reader to contemplate what happens to a dream deferred — “Maybe it just sags like a heavy load/Or does it explode?”
The mayor issued a clarion call for change and noted that achieving structural reform necessarily starts with individuals: “Aren’t you tired of dreaming? When will you wake up, rise up, level up?”
Monday’s program can and should be a catalyst to spur our community forward. We thank Mayor Moore, Chairman Etheridge and Congressman Butterfield for sharing their messages.
The video also included MLK scholarship presentations to a Wilson Community College student and a Barton College student. Barnes, who chairs the scholarship committee, noted that COVID-19 has hampered the MLK Commission’s efforts to solicit donations for the yearly awards.
To support the scholarship program, mail checks to the Wilson MLK Commission at PO Box 6333, Wilson, NC 27894, send money to MLKJrWilson@gmail.com via PayPal or call the commission at 252-294-2635.
THUMBS DOWN to a nationwide blood shortage the American Red Cross calls its worst in more than a decade.
“Winter weather across the country and the recent surge of COVID-19 cases are compounding the already dire situation facing the blood supply,” said the nonprofit’s medical director, Dr. Baia Lasky. “Please, if you are eligible, make an appointment to give blood or platelets in the days and weeks ahead to ensure no patient is forced to wait for critical care.”
Hospitals rely on blood donations in order to perform lifesaving transfusions and other essential surgeries. COVID has exacerbated a seasonal decline in donations, with the Red Cross charting a 62% drop in school and college blood drives.
Wilsonians can do their part to reverse the trend by participating in one of the following blood donation opportunities:
• Wednesday — Noon to 5 p.m., Wilson Medical Center, 1705 Tarboro St. SW.
• Jan. 27 — 1-6 p.m., Tabernacle Baptist Church, 1815 Airport Blvd. W.
• Jan. 28 — 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Beddingfield High School, 4510 Old Stantonsburg Road.
• Jan. 29 — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., American Legion Post 13, 2331 U.S. 301 S.
THUMBS UP to developers’ plans for a downtown Wilson hotel that will restore a local landmark to its former glory and help showcase our #DowntownTurnaround to visitors for decades to come.
As we’re proud to report in a story for Tuesday's front page, work on the Cherry Hotel renovation project is set to begin in earnest by mid-2022. Developers will invest $23 million in the 105-year-old building, which is set to reopen late next year or in early 2024 as a Courtyard by Marriott hotel with local décor and special flourishes that pay homage to Wilson’s history.
“We know we can deliver the product that will make Wilson proud, so I can’t wait to get going and get these places open for business,” Raines Co. managing partner Gary Raines told Times staff writer Brie Handgraaf.
The refurbished hotel will boast 101 guest rooms, a 24-hour restaurant and a ballroom suitable for hosting community events. It will also provide at least 25 jobs. We can’t wait to see the Cherry’s second season begin.
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