Flaggs: People still need to push to accomplish MLK’s dream

Published 2:49 pm Monday, January 17, 2022

Although 58 years have passed since Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, “we must continue endeavoring to ensure that his dream becomes the reality that Dr. King envisioned,” Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said Monday.

Flaggs was the guest speaker for the Omicron Rho Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s 33rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Breakfast.

Attendance at the event was limited to members and a small number of guests, due to COVID-19, and live-streamed through the fraternity’s OPLAMBDA Facebook page.

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“As is fitting, we have assembled to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and we are called upon by Dr. King’s legacy to continue working together to realize our nation’s commitment to freedom, equality, justice and love in the 21st century,” Flaggs said, adding that King’s teachings remain true.

“Dr. King once said, ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’”

And some things, Flaggs said, like better health care for African Americans, closing the wealth gap to allow African American families to earn a better income and changes in education that will help more African American students graduate from high school and be able to move on to college and well-paying jobs are goals that have yet to be achieved.

Flaggs commended Alpha Phi Alpha for its work.

“You have been a beacon of light in this community, reminding us that Dr. King was a God-ordained minister, an Alpha and left a legacy to be celebrated,” he said. “Thank you Alphas for your investment in our community and promoting young men of the city and the county.”

He singled out the fraternity’s Project Alpha Leadership Club, a mentoring program teaching leadership, personal and life skills that help young men “become outstanding scholars and productive citizens.

“Through Project Alpha Leadership Club, you have matured countless young men. You have provided them — these young minds — with educational programs, scholarship opportunities and role models,” he said. “I commend you for your diligence and fortitude in continuing this program.”

Before leaving the podium, Flaggs reminded the audience and fraternity members of King’s leadership lessons:

• Possess total commitment to your cause.

• Disrupting the status quo is essential for change.

• Have a dream, communicate that dream and do the work to ensure it comes to fruition (or pass).

• Empower the powerless.

• Find opportunity in every situation.

“This morning, tomorrow and forever, let us remember Dr. King — not only for a day but for a lifetime,” Flaggs said. “His message of freedom, equality, justice and love still resonates today and will continue to resonate in the years to come.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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