MLK Day: Where does that dream stand? Are we closer to making it a reality?

Memorials, volunteer work, and protests were held

The annual freedom walk in Westland this morning, likely no real difference from the many events to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

DETROIT – There are protest, memorials and plenty of people doing volunteer work on Monday to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Read: MLK Day: Remembering Detroit’s 1963 ‘Walk to Freedom’ march

Local 4 posed the simple question to everyone we’ve spoken to today. Local 4 asked, ‘In your view, what is the state of Dr. King’s dream?’ The one he spoke of seeking: equality, social justice, rights for workers, unity.

“We are certainly making diversity, equality, and diversity one of our priorities and one of our core beliefs here in the city of Westland,” said Mayor Bill Wild of Westland.

Sheriff Ray Washington of Wayne County said, “We just fight the fight and keep talking about the dream for the generations coming up behind us.”

“When I think about the state of the dream, the state of the dream is fluttering,” said Rev. Wendell Anthony.

Professor Erin Dwyer of the history department at Oakland University sees things through those goggles of history and how it plays out in real-time.

“We always see every Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as the kind of Instagramming of quotes by people and especially by political figures,” Dwyer said. “Today is a day to pause and examine who is quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. and at the same time is fighting forward motions of the voting rights act.”

Voting rights came up over and over again.

The stories I hear, especially the ones that really broke my heart, is someone in the 70s who said, ‘I was fighting for this in my early 20s, and now, years later, my grandchildren, myself, all of us are still fighting for the same rights and the same access,’” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

While marching and serving the homeless and reflecting is still considered part of the day’s important work, many say the heavy lifting must be done every day of the year.

“Martin Luther King, Jr. did his best,” Anthony said. “He paid the supreme price for us. Can’t we not get a flesh wound? Can’t we not get a scrape? You don’t have to go to the mountain top like King, but can you come off the asphalt pavement for you and me in your neighborhood?

The Museum of the Courageous curate's stories of people and organizations who proactively work against hate and injustice; Today, Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy, activist Kim Trent, and journalist Helen Zia were named to this year's class of Warriors For Justice.

About the Authors:

Paula Tutman is an Emmy award-winning journalist who came to Local 4 in 1992. She's a Peace Corps alum who spent her early childhood living in Sierra Leone, West Africa and Tanzania and East Africa.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.