The Rev. Tony Cobbins told a crowd Saturday in Johnson County that Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous dream still has not been fully realized in America.
It won’t be fulfilled, he said, until everyone has equal access to education and job opportunities, and until poverty and police brutality are eradicated.
And it is not enough to passively hope the dream comes true, said Cobbins, senior pastor at Canaan Worship Center in Kansas City.
“We have not arrived simply because we have put an African-American in the White House,” he said. “We must be willing to take on the burdens of responsibility of working to see that the dream comes to pass.”
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Cobbins spoke at the 24th annual Martin Luther King Jr. memorial event at Blue Valley West High School, organized by the Johnson County King Committee and the local NAACP. The event came two days before the holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader.
Cobbins’ speech challenged the audience, numbering about 100, to carry King’s message into the present day.
“That’s a call to action,” said the master of ceremonies, Deputy Chief Tyrone Garner of the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department.
Saturday’s event included a presentation by Mayor Carl Gerlach of Overland Park and a series of civil-rights-themed dances and theater arrangements performed by students.
Cherie Suther of Lenexa brought her children to the event. Suther said she was impressed by how the program combined King’s historical legacy with more recent issues, including the deaths of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
“I think the thing that was different was bringing in current events to relate to the dream, and what we need to do to move forward,” Suther said.