Pursuing Dr. King’s dream
Those in attendance at the Jan. 20 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday observance not only paid homage to the late civil rights leader’s legacy, they also listened as dignitaries mapped out a future plan to continue pursuit of Dr. King’s ‘dream.’ The event was held in Bethlehem’s Town Hall and was hosted by the Bethlehem Branch of the NAACP and the Bethlehem YWCA. An overflow crowd attended and the event’s theme took root in the late Sam Cooke’s song, “A Change is Gonna Come.”
Mayor Robert Donchez stressed the importance of participation in the 2020 U. S. Census so that communities would receive their fair share of federal programs assistance and that legislative districts would receive a fair delineation in the reapportionment of Congressional seats that follows a census.
Bethlehem Area School District superintendent Dr. Joseph Roy addressed racism and the aefect that it has on educating young people, and NAACP President Esther Lee spoke about the need to insure that all children have the opportunity to succeed with their education.
Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure assured everyone that the voting process is “safe and secure” in Northampton County, after some issues with new voting machines arose in last November’s general election., McClure and State Representative Steve Samuelson each touted the change in state law that will allow anyone to vote by mail instead of visiting a polling place, and encouraged participation in that option.
Guest speaker Sara Manzano-Diaz, Esq., whose broad government service experience includes stints in the federal government under presidents Clinton and Obama, in Pennsylvania state government under Governor Ed Rendell, and currently serves under Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro as the executive deputy attorney general for public protection, spoke about her dream to become an attorney.
“No one believed I could do it, but I made my dream a reality,” Manzano-Diaz said.
She spoke about the importance of the census and voting, how it determines legislative and congressional district boundaries and also how housing, education and healthcare resources will be allocated.
“It’s important to vote, because your vote is your voice,” Manzano-Diaz said.
The Liberty HS Grenadier Band color guard presented the American flag. St. Paul Baptist Church Men’s Singers performed several selections and Timothy Smith Sr. sang Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.” Zoey Bronson read from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s. “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.”