La Grange gathering urges pursuing King’s dream through nonviolence
Rev. Theodore Moran leads a panel discussion at a Martin Luther King Day observance at the Community Center in La Grange. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 29, 2013 2:05PM
LA GRANGE — Everyone left an observance of Martin Luther King Day knowing they had homework.
The slain civil rights leader’s emphasis on nonviolence was the focus of Monday’s program at the Community Center. The day featured speakers, photographs and a panel discussion by area clergy, police, school leaders and representatives of CeaseFire, aimed at preventing street violence in Chicago.
The event was sponsored by the Caring Place for Kids after-school program, the La Grange Area NAACP, CommUNITY Diversity Group and the Western Star Masonic Lodge.
Panelists challenged about 50 audience members to reflect on causes of violence and what each person can do to prevent it.
“There was a time in black history when we didn’t have as much as we do now and we didn’t kill one another,” said Walter Arthur McCray, a writer and president of the National Black Evangelical Association in Chicago.
Bob Jackson, program manager for CeaseFire Roseland, recalled his history in Mississippi, hiding under his grandmother’s bed to escape members of the Ku Klux Klan burning a cross on her front lawn.
La Grange Police Chief Michael Holub warned how violence pervasive in media from TV news to video games desensitizes people and becomes a learned behavior.
Nikita Hulbert, liaison to African-American students at Lyons Township High School, suggested teens be given greater guidance, sense of community and respect from adults empowering youth to make good choices.
“I see a lack of young people having a vision,” Hulbert said.
“Everything really begins at home,” said Corine Thomas of La Grange. “We’ve got to start teaching our children when they’re one day old.”
Duncan Mathieson of La Grange said he found the panelists’ discussion valuable.
“It’s good to look at history recalling the milestone in social justice and nonviolence,” Mathieson said.