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Human Rights Officer's View: Not there yet; so how do we move forward?

As I think about the celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday, I am brought to a different time in my life: sitting in church with my family and holding that uniquely shaped fan bearing the image of Dr. King. You see, I was a very young man when Dr. King was assassinated, and I can still hear and see the videos of the marches and the sit-ins. But nothing was more meaningful than being with family when the rare moment would arise and one of our grandparents would begin to share memories of the world in which they grew up.

Long before Dr. King and the light was shined on the Jim Crow South, danger lurked around many corners, and there really wasn't much you could do about it. My family challenged me to recognize the dangers and barriers in my path, and they urged me not to let those barriers stop me from reaching my goals.

As we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we all can remember we have come so far — but we are not there yet. I know for many it feels like we actually have gone backward. The question is: How do we move forward? This is one of the most important questions for our generation. The whole political, social, and economic structure of our communities are determined by the answer.

Are you willing to make the first step? I know I am.

Carl Crawford

Carl Crawford is the Duluth human rights officer. He wrote this at the invitation of the News Tribune Opinion page.