Last night I was working out while listening to Xavier’s WVXU radio. A wonderful program of Jazz music, celebrating with interwoven bits of speeches from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was being broadcast.

What evolved within this program was a focus on the grand and the very rich heritage of the American African community. Culminating with the ‘watershed’ events of the civil rights movement of the sixties and Dr. King as the driving force of that era. I was listening as names such as Duke Ellington, George Washington Carver, Lena Horne, Thurgood Marshall, Wynton Marsalis, Oscar Peterson, Ronald E. MacNair, Ella Fitzgerald, Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice, all cropped up during the broadcast. What a remarkable mosaic of talent, what wonderful contributions, and vision, these people have given our country.

How sad that there now still exists a segment within both the white and the African American community who seemingly have made it their life’s ambition to pander to the lowest common denominator. People who gladly assume a title of leader, but whose actions are not those of leadership. Rather, their real expertise is to bully, divide, and carp. Our city has gone through a two-year process where growth has taken a hiatus as elected leaders have cowered, while the procurers of racial divisiveness have taken over the halls and the streets.

I guess my hope for this year’s King celebration is that all the great and mostly very quiet majority – all of us, black and white, red and yellow – focus on the real gains made, starting with the dream that King had, the opportunities surrounding us all, and the possibilities which lie ahead.

Dirk

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