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King's dream was for equality for everyone, not just blacks

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By Johnathan Ryan

HEATH SPRINGS - Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream was that everyone could have an equal chance at the American dream, not just black people.

That was the message delivered to those who filled the fellowship room at the United Citizens Club of Heath Springs Monday morning at the group's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast.

"He not only blessed America, he touched the world," said the Rev. William Coleman, pastor of Bright Light Missionary Baptist Church, who was guest speaker at the event. "He was concerned with the welfare of humanity."

Coleman urged those in attendance to mobilize to do something about the problems in their communities.

"We all have a role in that (King's) dream," he said. "If we start here, we can expand our horizons onto the national and international stage."

King's interest wasn't in receiving awards or achieving financial gain, but to help the downtrodden, Coleman said. He challenged the audience to do the same, remembering their older friends and relatives who were at the forefront of the civil rights movement but now struggle to maintain adequate housing and health care.

Inequality for black Americans still exists, despite legal barriers to prevent it, Coleman said. Blacks still face problems with access to health care, poverty, substance abuse and violence, he said.

At the event, attendees held hands and sang the anthem "We Shall Overcome."

Attendees agreed that King-led civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s wasn't just about gaining rights for black Americans.

"He was about the fair treatment of all people across the board," said Stonesboro resident Mildred Kirkland, who was representing Rock Hill Baptist Church at the event. "He wanted to make sure that all people have their chance at the American dream."

Heath Springs resident Keith Moore gave his take on King's message.

"People should learn to come together and love one another, despite small differences," he said. "This world then would be a much better, safer place."

Contact Johnathan Ryan at 416-8416 or jryan@thelancasternews.com