At 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21, the African American Club of Pasco and the city of New Port Richey will celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Regardless of your skin color, or your ethnic background, or your spiritual leanings, you should consider attending to honor the life of a person who set all of us free – free from racist laws, free from ignorance that humans are different in their minds and bodies in any significant way, free to accept that being a human being and an American means zero degrees in freedom between us.
Dr. King pursued his dream relentlessly, relying on the courage of non-violence, the power of reason over irrationality, and ultimately, it cost him his life. Dr. King was killed trying to make us better human beings, better Americans, a better nation. Among the handful of Americans who we honor with a day off from school and work (Presidents Washington and Lincoln) Dr. King stands alone as a moral compass for the American people. He was a person lacking political or military power who employed the power of faith, of moral integrity, of refusing to return hate for hate. And though the dreamer was slain, Dr. King's dream is alive and well.
Though we still have a distance to go to truly judge our fellow human beings by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, or their religion, or their ethnic background, or their economic plight, we have survived the potentially fatal illness, and though the fever remains, we are getting better.
So how will we celebrate Dr. King's birthday Monday? We will hear the story of Florida's first civil rights martyrs, Harry and Harriet Moore, dynamited in their home in Mims, Fla. on Christmas night, 1951. Their sins? Registering almost 200,000 African Americans to vote. Asking that black teachers get the same pay as whites, and black children get the same educational opportunity as whites. Demanding that lynchings and violence toward blacks with the help of law enforcement be investigated and stopped. We will welcome the surviving daughter of Harry and Harriet, Miss Evangeline Moore, still seeking justice for her parent's murders. We will honor Dr. King with music from three choirs, a mime, the Gulf High School Band, a soloist and the young group Fearingstar. An honor guard from the Chester McKay VFW Post will raise our flag to honor our fallen hero, and we'll hear from New Port Richey Police Chief James Steffens, and from civil rights fighter Maxine Walker Giddings who sat at lunch counters in segregated towns with Congressman John Lewis. And, we'll hear the words of Dr. King recited by educator Patrick James.
But here's a little test for where you are today in race relations: regardless of your color, have you been in the home of a person of another color in the last six months; or perhaps more importantly, during that time has a person of another color been in your home? If each of us is not reaching out to embrace our fellow Americans, we are part of the problem, not the solution for a better America tomorrow.
Daniel Callaghan, New Port Richey
The U. S. House of Representatives approved a bill authorizing $50.1 billion for Hurricane Sandy relief to assist millions of Northeasterners in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey from the devastation they suffered.
Many of us who have family members in these states suffered with them while they were homeless. Only three Republicans from Florida voted for this bill. U.S. Rep. Richard Nugent voted "no" on extending aid to victims of this storm. Yet he also voted against raising taxes on the rich and continues to support the attack entitlements for the elderly and the sick and disabled.
Rep. Nugent has now demonstrated that he no longer possesses common sense or any sense of compassion for his fellow man in need. He no longer represents the hard working common man in his district. His political ambitions out weigh his ability to be a leader of the constituents he is suppose to represent.
It doesn't matter where Hurricane Sandy hit. Voting no is an inhumane act against his fellow man. It is apparent that U.S. Rep. Nugent does not possess the independence to make his own judgments.
Vito J. Delgorio Sr., Spring Hill