Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a Civil Rights icon deserving of recognition and celebrations.
This year because of the coronavirus pandemic the celebrations continue, but mostly virtual.
“So I think by us being virtual it will expand our awareness of Fort Worth,” National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum co-founder Jim Austin said.
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The museum recognizes cowboys of color. Austin feels it’s important to keep celebrations going even if they are virtual.
“We’re showing in a sense that we care,” Austin said. “That we will never ever forget about what Martin Luther King meant to this nation.”
Mrs. Opal lee is also hopeful.
“Folk are itching to have something to do,” the advocate for a Juneteenth federal holiday said.
“I really think it’s going to help. It’s a pity it has taken a pandemic to get people together,” said Lee.
Lee believes even a virtual MLK Day will bring people together.
“We can never repay or even think about saying thank you for what he did. So, we need to build on that.”
Lee is building her own legacy. She is on a mission to get Juneteenth declared a federal holiday.
Juneteenth is an annual celebration marking the end of slavery in the U.S. The holiday commemorates a specific date — June 19, 1865, the day many enslaved people in Texas learned they had been freed.
But at the same time, Lee and Austin encourage everyone to continue building on Dr. King’s dream.
“You have to make yourself a committee of one and be about the business of making our lives better,” Lee said. “You can’t wait on anyone else to do it. You’ve got to do it yourself.”
“My motto is the more that I give the more that I receive,” Austin said. “Participate. Work within your community. Work within your church.”
For a list of Dr. Martin Luther King Day celebrations click here.