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Smith gives annual MLK address to the House: ‘The dream lives on’

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Thursday, Jan. 11, Rep. Vernon G. Smith (D-Gary) gave his annual address to the Indiana House of Representatives in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ahead of the long weekend, Smith wants to remind Hoosiers and lawmakers that Monday, Jan. 15, is not merely a day off of work, but a day to remember the legacy of the man known as the drum major for justice. 

“Growing up in Gary at a time when racism and bigotry ran even more rampant than now,  I often found myself asking questions about the ways of the world around me,” Smith said. “Even though I knew the answer on the surface, I asked: why can’t I eat at certain restaurants? Why can’t I go to certain parts of the city? Why did I experience such violence from the group of white boys at the bus stop? 

“Dr. King was a man who asked many questions. Why doesn’t America honor the self-evident truth that all men are created equal under their constitution? Why is America not a nation where men of all races, colors, and creeds will live together as brothers? Why can't America be a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man?

“While Dr. King had questions about America, he also had an abiding faith in America, and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. He refused to accept the way our country treated its citizens. He believed that right would triumph wrong. He wanted his children to be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. He saw a more perfect union in the future of our nation. 

“Those who were threatened by Dr. King, his ideas, and his followers thought that if you kill the dreamer, you kill the dream. 56 years have passed since the world lost such an esteemed figure in American history, a warrior for justice, and a protector of peace. 56 years later and I can truthfully, honestly, say that the dream lives on.

“I encourage everyone to take a moment of reflection and prayer on Monday to remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

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