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Guestbook Archive: 2002

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In 1960 I was a freshman at Edmund Meany Junior High in Seattle, while my brother was a junior attending Garfield. We lived on 23rd and Union. It was the neighborhood in which my mother and her sisters and brother grew up. The nuclear family was in. The schools I attended were a mixture of white, oriental and colored kids and I can't remember a time when race entered into anything. We all played together at recess.

About the time I reached my sophomore year I began developing an interest in watching the evening news on television with my dad. Marches and sit-ins involving Dr. King were on the news regularly and I couldn't help but wonder why all the problems — we didn't have any that I was aware of. I thought he was a troublemaker, just stirring things up.

Then one day I heard he was to speak at Garfield early in the morning, and I don't know what made me do it, but I decided to go and listen to him. While I cannot remember the content of his speech, I do remember to this day how impressed I was with what he said, how he said it and how intelligent he was. He was no troublemaker. He was a man who wanted what we all want, the rights and freedoms as described in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I cannot to this day understand how one judges another simply by the color of his skin, or the religion he professes or any other thing like that.

Dr. King was a gifted man, leading his people to the mountaintop, only to have his life cut short by ignorance and hate. I am glad that I got to see him and hear him. It is not often one gets the opportunity to see and hear a great man.

Richard, Seattle / Jacksonville, N.C.

Martin Luther King Jr. had a big impact on my life as a child. My parents were very open about race and what we could expect growing up. The school my child attends is pretty much the same as the school that I attended as a child. I asked him, Did his teacher tell him why he was out of school on Monday the 21st? He stated that she told him it was a school break and to enjoy it.

I asked his teacher why they didn't tell the children why school was closed, and she stated that it was not a part of her lesson plan to discuss Mr. King's birthday. I explained to her that when I grew up it wasn't a part of the lesson plan either. As you can see, much has not changed. I was born in the early '60s and my son is 6.

I don't see how much has changed, except it was very obvious in my mother's day who was racist. Now it's scary because it takes a little more effort to find out who those people are and what they are teaching our children.

Gina, Edmond, Okla.

I am a 22-year-old student who grew up in South Carolina, in a small town where there is still a separate prom for whites and blacks. At the time, I never fully realized that I was living in a racist society. It was all I knew and thus never felt compelled to do anything to change it. Sure, we studied Martin Luther King, but more in terms of something that happened before we were born. I was never encouraged to relate the events of the civil-rights movement to my own life in South Carolina. It wasn't until I left the South for college that I fully comprehended that there was a real problem in my hometown.

I'm not trying to say that what Martin Luther King did failed to reach the rural town of Edgefield, S.C. Instead, I'm saying that we should all let the passion of Martin Luther King inspire us to stand up and make a difference, whether it be trying to integrate the high school prom in your hometown, or accomplishing any other endeavor that you feel strongly about. Don't wait around for someone else to make the first step. After all, what would have happened had Martin Luther King sat around waiting for someone else to make things happen? So let his story inspire you. Stand up, take the first step, and share his dream.

Clint, University of Chicago / Edgefield, S.C.

My grandparents told me about the impact MLK made on the South and the world. My grandfather was a slave in the cotton fields of South Carolina, and he says MLK gave him hope that one day all will be free and will be created equal. To this day my grandfather still appears to feel that pain of the South. I am grateful that God sent the black people a man of great determination and strength at a time of great negative race relations in our world. Race (problems) today are still alive and will never disappear. The only thing we can do is make sure they do not return in the fashion that MLK worked to vanquish.

Ed, Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, Ala.

I am only 12 years old and I have never really thought about Martin Luther King Jr.'s importance to the United States. I knew and now know that he was a great man and did great things. Now is when I read his whole entire speech for the first time and all I have to say is that I am so impressed, shocked and emotional at the same time. All I have to say is, that man was a great leader, a great friend, a great man and a great American.

Tina, Hugh B. Bain Middle School, Cranston, R.I.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s impact in my community was a great one. We all live as equals in our neighborhood and no one is left out because of their ethnicity. We share the same feelings toward that man of peace, and I believe that he is my idol.

Marie, Seattle, Wash.

The school my daughter and her siblings attended last year needs to do some teaching on Martin Luther King Jr. and showing kids racism isn't cool. My kids were minorities at Mar Vista and they faced being called niggers and "blackie" and being told "I can't play with you because you are black." My niece, who attends Tierra Vista, has had to face this year being called "darkie" and told "Can't you wash it off?" I wish schools out here would teach Martin's message of equality and all men are brothers, including Hispanics and blacks.

Race relations are better, but I think we still have a way to go to get to Martin's dream. There are still too many people — black, white and of other races — who wish to live in the past or who are unwilling to come forward to the present. Too many blacks whine and complain about oppression. Too many whites still want it all for only themselves and their children. Black people are no longer united and some of the stuff the black leaders make a big deal of is just foolish. We need to stop focusing on our hurt feelings and start focusing on getting back to God and taking of our families and young people.

Shawn, Oxnard, Calif.

As a black African, he is my hero next to Mandela.

Abebe, Bellevue Community College, Bellevue, Wash.

I am ashamed that I didn't see more clearly the things that were going on around me while I grew up in the '60s and '70s. I was one of those white people who would say, "Blacks haven't been subjected to slavery for a long time now, so what's the problem?" I didn't know that just a short time before my birth, African Americans were not deemed worthy of mingling with "white folks" as they ate and shopped. Or that blacks were expected to give up their seats on a bus rather than make a white person stand. Rosa Parks was right for not getting up. Shame on anyone who ever made any black person, especially a black woman (who no doubt worked long, hard hours for little pay before she went home to care for her family) give up her seat.

Even though I'm glad for all Mr. King did in such a short time, I'm sorry he was murdered for it and especially sorry that it took so long for all the changes that came about. And, I'm sorry it took me so long to see what the problem was.

Laura, San Antonio, Texas

We feel that African Americans and whites get along in our school because we can make friends. We make friends by being helpful, encouraging and kind.

Mr. Barth's 3rd grade class, Scenic Hill Elementary, Kent, Wash.

I would first like to give thanks to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to everyone who fought against racism, and to those who are still fighting today. I believe that although we have come a long way, there is still a lot of racism today. I come from a Middle Eastern background, and it makes me sad to hear what some people have to say to me after the tragic events of Sept. 11. It is good that we as Americans have recently become more patriotic, but we have also become more racist. Racism is present today, but it is hidden, and a lot of people do not want to admit that. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a role model to me because he believed in equal rights for all people. I pray that more people strive to be like him, and to peacefully fight against racism in any form, regardless if it affects you directly or not. Because we are all of the same race, the human race. God bless.

D.S., Renton, Wash.

From 4-year-old Ellie: I wish I could see Martin Luther King Jr.'s gravestone today. I would leave him a birthday cake that the angels could pick up and fly up to heaven to give to him. Then he would say, "Someone loves me, even though I died."

Ellie, Dublin Community Preschool, Dublin, Ohio

I know that Dr. King had a great impact on America, along with the rest of the world, back in those days. Somehow today it seems that the impact was small because the world is acting up, because war is all over the world — nations acting like they don't want to live with each other, all they want to do is harm each other instead of help each other. Dr. King's dream will not be realized until the whole world is doomed.

As a black man today, a lot of things have changed in the last 30 years, but a lot more needs to be done.

Willie, Bristow, Va.

I grew up in the time of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. I remember how it was before and after. I say race relations have turned around for the most part 90 percent, compared to how they were before the movement.

I think we need more of a balance among ALL races in the U.S. these days and for people to quit putting down whites. We all are what we are and people are just human beings, living, breathing, loving and working for their families and living their lives. So let's let each other, no matter the color, have an opportunity to live life to the fullest. And let's enjoy and learn from one another. Each race has so much to offer the other in so many areas. Let's get the chips off our shoulders and ENJOY AMERICA, the melting pot.

D. Ellyn, Nederland, Colo.

In my community, I see mixed couples frequently and think this is a very good thing. I believe that if all people alive today were able to follow their ancestry back far enough, they would eventually get to Noah (builder of Noah's Ark). Going back that far, we would be one race.

Leon, Tacoma, Wash.

I am a teacher in Puerto Rico, where most people don't know about the life and work of Dr. King. Being Puerto Rican, I am very proud of my African heritage, and that's why I decided to teach my students about the civil-rights movement and Dr. King's work. They were horrified by all the terrible things African-Americans went through, and now they have a better understanding of Dr. King's efforts to make our nation a better one! As a class activity they had to dramatize a situation using one of the Jim Crow laws, and this really affected them. I teach ninth-graders, and they are of all skin colors. They identified themselves with these laws because, being a minority, if we were living during that time, we would have been affected too.

Jessica, Juan Ponce de Leon Jr. High School, Humacao, Puerto Rico

The impact of Martin Luther King in my community I think was great. Whenever I go for a bike ride around my neighborhood I see children playing who are different races, or I see people walking together and having fun who are different races. These sights make me very happy because even though someone is different on the outside everyone is the same on the inside. What he did was something so special that it is very hard to describe

Michelle, Berkeley Preparatory School, Tampa, Fla.

Today is a day when we should as a nation reflect upon all the advancements we have made culturally, socially and economically, and see that we still have a long way to go. In the '50s when my parents married, they did so in violation of many laws that prohibited interracial marriages. These laws existed because of an attempt to cling to the past and impose a lifestyle on some by others.

Today, we still struggle with that issue in another form: the right for gays and lesbians to form legally sanctioned family units with the rights and responsibilities that heterosexuals have. As a person of color and a gay man, I see no distinction between when gay people are discriminated against or have their civil rights violated and when a black, Jewish or Muslim person is persecuted.

George, Olalla, Wash.

What I think about my school is pretty mean. People call me "forehead." But what they don't know is that one day I will be famous because I am a model and things will change at my ghetto school. I hope it changes quickly.

Portia, Interdistrict Downtown School, Crystal, Minn.

The impact of Dr. King's efforts has been quite instrumental in my own personal struggle to help others get to the "Promised Land." My only regret is that time may be too short in my life to make a big difference. Nevertheless, I am personally thankful that God has allowed me to make some difference in my own individual efforts to help others work together as one. I do feel, that with each passing day, month, and year we are getting very close to realizing the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King. His legacy and influence will remain powerful in the lives of all men and women for many decades. Our constant prayer will always be that our sons and daughters will never experience a turn back to such turbulent times.

Harold, Drury University, St. Robert, Mo.

How do you feel about going to school knowing that there are children with different color skin than you? I will tell you one thing: It does not bother me. Some of my best friends are a different color than me. I thank Martin Luther King for that. If he didn't fight for rights I wouldn't have those friends.

Angel, Jefferson Middle School, Jefferson, Tenn.

I was born and raised in Birmingham, Ala., and I am a Caucasian woman. I do feel that Martin Luther King Jr. was not only fighting for the equality of African Americans, but for all of us who are discriminated against. I have had cases of discrimination happen to me over the years, causing me emotional pain and to wonder how this can still happen today, but it does. I believe in Dr. King's ideas of us all living together as "brothers," and it cuts deeply into heart that we still have not achieved this yet.

Tina, Birmingham, Ala.

I am originally from the African country of Ghana, and I can state confidently that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s struggle against social injustice and bigotry served as an inspiration to African champions of change and independence-struggle leaders such as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere and many others. In my opinion, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the true universal moral leader of his lifetime.

Leonard, Montgomery College, Silverspring, Md.

I was just 2 years old when Dr. King was killed. But, I learned about him as early as I learned about Jesus and Paul and Peter and Silas. I am proud of the impact he had on our lives as a people. He paved a way for us to be viewed as people and to have just basic rights. Nothing bothers me more today than to see young people of any race throw their lives away instead of striving to be all they can be. I accept no excuses. Dr. King and those like him paid the ultimate price, made the ultimate sacrifice, and we have a duty to build upon it.

Sonya, Triumph Church, Columbia, S.C.

I read Dr. King's book "Why we can't wait" several years ago, in which he mentioned that before the civil-rights struggles in the U.S., the African American was generally counted upon as "...a dull, submissive creature who would stoically endure, silently suffer, and patiently wait." That racial minorities no longer are generally so regarded is a measure of Dr. King the man and his achievement, not only in the U.S., but also in my country, Great Britain.

Nigel, Portsmouth, Hampshire, United Kingdom

I would say that race relations are 95 percent better today than 40 years ago. I think the other 5 percent is only what's left of what some parents teach their kids. If you put two kids of two different races beside each other, it is a fact that they're going to play and chat with each other. I've watched it. It's only the parents that pull the kids apart.

Monika, Advanced Career Training, Stone Mountain, Ga.

Dr. King had a very hard job. It has been very hard to destroy racism in such a very small town as mine. But as I look all over the world, it is much better as a whole for the black race and the poor whites as well — even though most poor whites don't even want to accept that he fought for their rights as well. It's a shame that a lot of whites don't realize that the King holiday isn't just for the black race but it is for us all.

Brandi, Springfield Middle School, Springfield, Tenn.

As I sit here at my desk, tears come to my eyes. Not all bad tears, but tears of frustration, and tears for the dedication that my people had. It kills me that we cannot be the same way anymore. Where is our race going; what are we doing? I listened to his speeches, and a chill went through my body. I heard the voice of an angel, I heard the voice of God. You are missed and loved, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I love you. Thank you for everything you did.

Aisha, Naperville, Ill.

Everywhere you go, there is some prejudice of some kind. There are those white people who will not let you forget the way things used to be. The schools are not so bad, because the children do not look at race like my generation does. The older people like to take you back where I don't ever intend to go. I am always quick to remind them that I work every day and I am just as intelligent as the next white person. All our money is the same color and it spends the same way. But i have some white friends that I get along fine with; we do not see color as an issue. But I never let myself forget where I came from. I am proud to be a black woman. I am proud of my race. When we all die and go to heaven or hell, God is not going to divide us by our color.

Connie, Salisbury, Md.

I feel (prejudice) still plays a big part in our schools and in society. Not just in color, but in religion, beliefs, sex and background. I asked a teacher what one thing he would change in our town. He said it was sad we live in a fishbowl, and it was sad no one ever tries to be different. So I colored my hair blue!

Andrea, Eatonville Middle School, Eatonville, Wash.

I think that Martin Luther King Jr. had a great impact on my town. Here you can be anything you want to be, and it doesn't matter what race you are. I think the schools in my neighborhood have some racism among students, but now in light of Sept. 11, it is not against blacks but Afghans and Muslims. I think if we try to, we can get rid of the hate and racism.

Angela, Tenney Middle School, Methuen, Mass.

I am a 32-year-old black female who grew up in a time in Alabama when being segregated was not mentioned. But just being able to ride the bus to school and being able to hear about what MLK did for me and my fellow brothers and sisters still brings tears to my eyes today. I now live in North Carolina, and our community is still a reflection of what segregation was and how we as black people still have a long way to go. I thank MLK for his sacrifice and hope that my children and all others will learn of the accomplishments today because of this great man, but the work still needs to go on.

Annie, Miller Motte Technical College, Wilmington, N.C.

Dr. King's legacy lives on in my heart; however, I painfully see that many of us have forgotten that to which he dedicated his life. It breaks my heart to know that those blacks in entertainment and sports have closed the door on others. They are no more respected than the beggar. They are simply tolerated because of their economic status, and they will not reach back to help others. Dr. King gave his life helping others including the very ones who feel they have made it to the top. Our schools are in the poorest condition. Our communities are failing. Our black men are dying young because they are striving to reach that carrot that continues to rise every moment they get near it. May God bless the legacy of Dr. King, and may he never be forgotten.

Leonard, Talladega College, Talladega, Ala.

I was born in Louisiana but refused to go to college there. It has always been my view that Malcolm X, Rap Brown and Stokely Carmichael inadvertently did more for the black cause than Martin Luther King. The NAACP, CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) and SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) really had the eyes and ears of the black community — not the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of which Mr. King was leader. The white power structure elected to engage Mr. King because he was more passive, non-violent. Mr. King was right!

Dr. King's impact in Los Angeles was that he was able to articulate our struggle, he was not afraid to put himself out front to demonstrate that getting and staying involved was the best way to change the system. I feel that the schools in my neighborhood, Rainier Valley, would be better if black churches were to pool their resources to have after-school tutoring programs, scholarships and technology classes. Race relationships in Seattle are better than anywhere else I've lived: Houston, Los Angeles, Denver, Raleigh, N.C. and Maryland.

Al, Los Angeles, Calif.

I fear to say that I still wonder how much Dr. King has impacted the people in my hometown. Many, but thankfully not all, people still foster strong, negative ethnic prejudices. There is definitely a visible line in the city that separates the majority of whites and the majority of blacks. This line is literally a set of railroad tracks. However, I will say that my town is better. I would hate to see it had Dr. King not made such an impact.

Chris, Dallas Christian College, Dallas, Texas / Enid, Okla.

I have to applaud the Prince George's County school system, because they have added a research project that is centered on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and this the entire student body will have the opportunity to gain knowledge of what this man has done for all of God's children, and how much he means to everyone.

Being a 37-year-old black man, and having seen a lot in my up bringing, I think it is really sad to see people still behave the way they did back in the late '50s and early '60s. Times have changed, and back then we had no rights, but now we all are equal. It is a shame to see our young people killing off one another. I guess Dr. King's death and his legacy meant nothing to them, otherwise, they would stop all of this foolishness. Enough blood was shed during the civil-rights riots — now it's time to love one another and come together.

Kelvin, Springdale, Md.

In some communities in our country, I've found that even with Black History Month, many are alienated from the full meaning of Martin Luther King's "Dream," and his effectiveness as a racial peacemaker and as an egalitarian is waning, unfortunately.

Gaynell, Pasadena City College, Pasadena, Calif.

I feel that the schools in my neighborhood need to learn more about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr . All of the schools in my county are racial, very racial. I do not believe in judging other people. God says in the Bible not to judge your fellow brothers and sisters. I personally am not racial but only to a certain point. I believe there is a difference between an African American and a n****. I think that everyone is created equal and that everyone SHOULD be treated equal. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr is one of the most heroic people that this country has seen. And if you do not appreciate him or any of the other African-American heroes then you do not have the brains to appreciate anyone in this country.

Liz, Abbeville, S.C.

Although I was born many years after King's death, I feel such a strong presence when I hear his name or one of his great speeches. Today I look back over my life and I know that because of MLK, I can achieve any and everything. Thank you, Dr. King, for your dream, and I promise to try to keep it alive when I have kids by telling them about you and what you stand for.

Shronda, Alabama State University, Montgomery, Ala.

I am a 14-year-old black girl who is glad that I do not have to go to an all-black school 'cause I would not like it. I like my schools because I have nice teachers and friends who are white and other colors. I have a favorite teacher and she is white. She hates it when someone calls a black person a nigger. Well, we have some people who are prejudiced but not as many as before.

Makeya, Russellville Middle School, Russellville, Ky.

I am a white woman born one day after Dr. King. I followed his career closely with admiration. Having worked as a social worker in New York and New Jersey, I have seen the impact he has had over the years. It is not yet a level playing field, but certainly his work has righted it mightily. I must also say how I admire his wife and family who have devoted their lives to his cause.

Jean, Neptune, N.J.

I thank God for sending a Godly man like the late Martin Luther King Jr. He dreamed God's dream and he envisioned God's vision. He did not die in vain. I pray that God will multiply Godly people like the late Martin Luther King Jr.

Roger, Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia

I was feeling "under the weather" today, so I did not head out for any events; however, I checked out the TV guide and was really dismayed at what is not listed for today. I had hoped they'd have shows centering on MLK.

Things are not where they need to be today. Why aren't there marches/historical parades, progressive history from then until now, or a national joint event including celebrities? It seems that some small local events occur, but to me, it seems like it's not enough. I don't know how to inspire or coordinate this type of thing. I have neither the power, position nor knowledge of how to get whatever groups to work together, etc. I wish people in the right positions would do this.

Carolyn, Susquehanna Township, Harrisburg, Penn.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. There is still hatred; but it goes a lot deeper: hatred against other races, hatred against your own race, and hatred against religions and creed. People are afraid of the unknown. Like Dr. King, I would love to see a day where no one is discriminated against because of the color of their skin. I think that would be a day everyone would like to see.

Mytrice, St. Louis, Mo.

Dr. King was a gift from God. Many rejected this gift. Dr. King returned from this Earth. Now there are gifts coming in all forms and directions that we don't like very well, especially from foreign lands.

Tina, Harris-Stowe State College, St. Louis, Mo.

I think his impact really helped in my community because nobody hardly ever calls anybody names, and nobody is separated. It feels like we are one big family. The schools are very good in my neighborhood. They really monitor what the kids are saying. Practically everybody gets along. I mean there ARE still people who call each other names. But, it is NOT that often.

Haili, Walnut Junior High School, Grand Island, Neb.

I think Dr. King, in the eyes of those responsible, had to be assassinated. Being able to reach blacks was one thing, but when other races, especially white, started listening and taking heed, the parties to be felt threatened. The world unfortunately will never have another individual, with the exception of GOD, who had all the ingredients of Dr. King. If I had just one wish, that wish would be that Dr. King's death would not have happened.

Willie, Boston, Mass.

The school I go to doesn't offer much information about Dr. King until you reach the seventh grade. Then after that it sort of declines. I would really like to learn information about that great man and others who believed in the same things. There are no programs offered to us. There never will be unless someone stands up and does something about it.

Erricka, Greenway Middle School, Pittsburgh, Penn.

I give honor and praise to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I am so grateful and blessed for the chance to live with the dignity that was made possible by Dr. King and his dreams. I was 9 years old when the church was bombed in Birmingham, Ala., but I can tell you it stays with you for a lifetime. I remember. Martin Luther King Jr. made a huge difference in my community and my city. He came and he accomplished what he set out to do. It is not perfect, but it is better. I am still, today, touched by racism every so often, so I can say race relations are better now, but I think it is undercover more. I light a candle in his memory every birthday, because if not for his birth and his visions, where would we be today?

Wanda, Birmingham, Ala.

Dr. King made a tremendous impact on life in general for all of us. I know that I would not have the basic liberties afforded me now if not for the strength of Dr. King and all those involved in the civil-rights movement — the fathers and mothers who fought so hard to be heard and to be respected as a fellow human beings. It brings me such great sorrow to think about the abuse that those before me suffered. Especially when I see my peers taking for granted their rights to vote, live where they want and go to school to be educated. People died for these things that we think are so simple. Things that we would not have if not for Dr. King and all the others that risked and gave their lives. Thank you, Dr. King!

Matescia, Louisville, Ky.

I was in my teens when MLK was brutally murdered. Many years have passed but I can still hear his words ringing in my mind to this day: 'I have a dream. ...' My own dreams have been greatly tempered by time but when I hear 'I have a dream' it brings me right back to those far-off days when all seemed possible. America must not abandon her idealism but renew it afresh in every generation. Martin Luther King's words ring true and are as relevant today, not just for Americans but for all the peoples of the world.

Dermot, Dublin, Ireland

I was born in 1964. The communities all over the country respect Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but the respect and the speech that we are so proud of seems to be implemented one or two times a year instead of acting on it day by day. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the progress we have attained, but the fact remains the same: Racism does exist and to me it is stronger than before. I say this because (as a minister) I travel and speak to different communities. People are trapped in their mind without a leader or leadership. If we are going to make a great impact, we need to have several MLKs operating in each community. Then we will see more power, authority and freedom in America. I'm a fair man with very strong beliefs in our culture, our heritage and especially in our families. We need to keep the unity and in 2002, "keep it true."

Samuel, AIU University Online, Ardmore, Okla.

If we bleed the same color blood, then we are the same. My favorite saying is "Never judge a book by its cover."

Jessica, homeschooled, St. Augustine, Fla.

I am saddened by the very thought of a country that had nurtured such undeserving hatred upon its own citizens and put forth efforts to lower in estimation and importance the ideals of a man who sought to not just attain equality for his own race but for all people, regardless of the way they were born.

Even though I was born not even a year before Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, I have seen racism within my lifetime and am horrified that at one time it had been so much worse. But oppression is still in existence today in a society that allow as the lawful discrimination of gays and lesbians. When I hear Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech, I imagine, too, a world where people absolutely have no concept of racism, and I hope someday before I die that I get to see that place. But he was also speaking of a world where all people are treated equally and where hatred has been replaced by not only love, but by understanding.

Blake, Los Angeles, Calif.

I really did not understand until I got older and was able to really read and understand what Dr. King was saying. I was 7 years old when he was killed. I remember all the hatred and confusion. In elementary school, the hatred was there. I really did not see it in the kids, but it was widespread among the adults.

I believe King's dying made a difference because in 1972, I was the first black kid to go to Darlington Middle School and one of three black students in both high school and middle school. It was one of the hardest challenges of my life. To be accepted into a school which had tradition (whites only) and break the barrier, life was difficult. It was a long time before I was accepted. It was not just the white side, but of my own race also. I have been in the middle.

Race relations today are tainted in many directions. It is not about black and white only anymore, but about prejudice in all races. We take too many issues and turn them to racial problems. There are definite problems today, when there should be more racial harmony. Today, my story would be a success story: We opened a door that was closed for many years.

Earl, Rome, Ga.

I was a young man when Dr. King came to Detroit. I walked down Woodward Avenue with him and thousands of others. That was in the '60s, and to this day I wonder what impact would he have had on our people and this country. I still reside in Detroit. And I have seen changes, but I don't think these were what Dr. King had in mind, as we can still use his words and works today.

Jerome, Detroit, Mich.

I am a middle-aged African-American female. I believe Dr. King would not be pleased with the state of race relations in the world today. I was listening to NPR today and was jolted into reality when I heard the man state that it was just a few years ago that black males (mostly) were being lynched in the South ... and also just a couple of years ago that a black man was lynched on the campus of Wayne State University (not many knew or seemed to care).

Also, when I see movies like "Roots," I am ashamed because the old, festering hatred that I have buried deep inside me for some white persons boils over the top and almost consumes my insides. I have not been able to come close to attaining the status that Dr. King achieved. I fear I will never see the "Mountain Top" because I cannot seem to let go of that old, festering feeling.

I work each day to be the best person I can be and to do at least one thing unselfishly for someone else (regardless of race/creed/color/sexual preference/national origin, etc.)...most days I am successful. Perhaps if I keep trying my good deeds will outweigh the hatred.

I look at the Sept. 11 tragedy (fueled by hatred) and the resulting "brotherhood" that has resulted, but I am skeptical that this is not real; that it is a sham. This "We're all in this together" is always the cry when "we" are needed to help fight — but when the fighting is over, it's back to business as usual: You can't eat in this restaurant, you can't live in this neighborhood, you can't go to this school, you can't marry this person, you can't worship in this church, you can't even be buried in this cemetery.

I have not had a hard life, but I am observant and realistic. In my heart, however, I wish I could believe that one day "The Dream" will be realized ... but then again, I keep thinking, too, "How long, how long. ..."

Val, Detroit, Mich.

As a youth professional, I am surprised by the lack of knowledge that youth of color have of this great American. Very few know of his contributions, not only for African Americans, but other groups that were not granted equity in this society.

Joseph, Adam H. Sarver Boys & Girls Club, Redford Township, Mich.

I completed UCLA law school and have practiced law for the past 13 years because of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. My city has been governed by an outstanding African-American mayor, the late Tom Bradley. Our current and former police chief are African American. My brother is a UCLA graduate and LAPD Detective. Forty years ago, my late father purchased a four-unit apartment building to which he and his architect brother added three units. Four apartment buildings and two homes were to follow. We were able to achieve the "American Dream" because of one of its greatest African Americans, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He had a dream ... and we have been blessed to live it! Thank you, Dr. King, and thank you God our Father for sending Dr. King to "deliver" us!

Sheila, Los Angeles, Calif.

Dr. King has done so much for the entire nation. It saddens me to know that the ignorance is still in existence, and that although everyone was touch by his efforts and accomplishments, we fail to continue his legacy. Generations of individuals fail to know the true meaning of Jan. 21. It is more than just a day off. It's a celebration for all those who believe in civil rights and equality for all.

It is not fair that the school systems fail to teach our children the truth about this fine man other than his famous "I have a dream" speech. It fails to teach that African-American people are a great people who have accomplished great things. This history has been stolen. Teach it to someone else. More importantly, teach the children. Do not leave it up to the educational setting that still practices institutional racism. Stand strong and firm. Let your voice be heard. Continue Dr. King's legacy and the legacy of all those who stood firm along side him in support.

Netoya, Effort, Penn.

I am a proud, black, gifted and talented black woman who owes her life to the struggle of my people. I appreciate and love you all. On occasions like Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, I have the chance to say "Thank you."

Nicole, Stratford University, London, England / Lake Worth, Fla.

Every time I hear the phrase "I have a dream," I think of the way things might have been if King were still around. We all know that it would be better than this. This country of the free isn't so free for everyone. Here in Virginia Beach, our superintendent made King's birthday a makeup day (in case of snow). We all know it would be the first to go, even though we have three makeup days already built into the school year.

Erika, First Colonial High School, Virginia Beach, Va.

Here in South Florida I have seen a few African Americans' bitter behavior toward me because I am Caucasian. I came from New England and I thought I would never see the day that this would happen, knowing that my parents taught me to respect all, and that beautiful people come in all different colors.

Theresa, Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Martin Luther King Jr. has a big impact on the black and white teenagers of our community. He inspires the people of our community. We did a little march around the block with signs saying "Free at last" and "Let freedom ring." We love this holiday and it is very important to us. I think the schools in our neighborhood are doing fine. We still have some racism, but the children who are glad to be able to have the opportunity to communicate with one another are doing great. Dr. King makes me realize no matter how far someone pushes, always show the good in you, because if you do good then good will come back to you.

Jacenta, Floyd Middle Magnet, Montgomery, Ala.

I believe our youth today have forgotten what it means to dream. They take advantage of the word freedom and what the people of our past had to go through to achieve it. We don't know the real meaning of struggle and life-threatening sacrifices. Discrimination will always remain a factor in our lives. Whether it be external or internal, it is always around. We need more positive leaders in our lives to help guide our youth in the right direction. That is why I wish I had the chance to know Dr. King. Not only was he a man of powerful words, he was a man who acted upon them. Those who have actually had the chance to hear and see him live, have the advantage of a full understanding of what he meant. If the youth today could have ever had that opportunity, they could appreciate everything they have in life now a little more.

Tiffany, Alton High School, Alton, Ill.

I think race relations are much better today than they were when Dr. King was alive, and even better since the terrorist attack on Sept. 11. We are all AMERICANS now.

Teresa, West Terrace Elementary School, Evansville, Ind.

I feel the impact of Martin Luther King Jr. has not affected my community in ways the "holiday of reflection for social injustices" was meant be realized. There are school systems, in my community, that feel as though the day off is better used for another holiday and thus do not celebrate MLK day; school resumes for them.

Our communities are grossly divided by a very small but distinct bridge, in economics and acceptance of differences. I am always hopeful race relations will get better in my community and I volunteer with established councils to bridge the very distinct gap. We have a very beautiful location here, which I see as God's country situated on the splendid lake of Michigan, but the ugly stench of racism and rejection of people who are different looms over the growth of the world-class city we will continue to work toward.

Angelique, Benton Harbor, Mich.

I think it is sad that kids only hear about Dr. King once a year. It is not enough for someone so great. He should be remembered every day. He has made a huge impact on everyone's community. The reason for all the racism today is because people are not taught enough about him.

Ashley, North High School, Springfield, Ohio

I feel that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. hasn't had enough impact in my community. The Harbor Fest (a celebration of the first slave ship's safe return home) has more impact than Dr. King's birthday. It saddens me, but what can I do? My children didn't even understand the importance of Dr. King and his accomplishments. When I asked them "Who is Dr. King?" my son answered that he is the man that they wouldn't let on the bus, he went to jail, he made a speech. It broke my heart.

Tequila, Norfolk, Va.

Monday, 21 January, we commemorate the birthday of another great American. It is important for Americans to understand why our government establishments will be closed and holiday routine observed. Often we forget that Memorial Day is for remembrance of our war dead. Veterans' Day is the commemoration of the end of hostilities in 1918 and 1945. These holidays were established to recognize past human triumphs and to remember tragedies that should never be relived. They are not times merely for relaxation, special sports events nor opportunities to catch up on things we've always wanted to do.

Why should we honor this American? Because this American displayed a courage of conviction that warrants national observance. It is due to his unbridled vision of the promise found within all of us and his willingness to dedicate his life to challenging the narrowmindedness of past generations that we are better human beings. The observance of Martin Luther King's birthday is not a "black holiday." It is a recognition of the strength of the human spirit to overcome ignorance. For this observance to be tagged as anything less would be a sure sign that the human condition is indeed terminal and the freedoms that we now enjoy will be short lived.

Wyndell, U.S. Navy, Honolulu, Hawaii

I am so proud of what Dr. King did for our country, I cry on his day.

Sammy Jo, Explorer Middle School, Everett, Wash.

Sadly, we never learned anything about Martin Luther King Jr. in class. But I always wanted to, so when I became older, I started finding out things on my own. MLK has made a great impact, but not in our community. Once I did substitute teaching and I saw how differently our kids were being treated. It is just terrible. That is why I've decided to become a teacher.

Karen, Cove City, N.C.

I am writing here as a means to express my personal appreciation for a person I have learned to respect and admire as time has gone by. MLK will always be a true hero to me. I am white and 61 years old, and I just wish I could be half the man that he still is. Happy birthday, my brother. I can now see, you were a gift of love to us all.

Wesley, Our World, Norfolk, Conn.

Thank you, Dr. King. I cannot begin to explain what this man has done for me. Dr. King has taught me how to treat everyone equally without making a judgment about their skin color. Dr. King taught me how to stand up for your beliefs without violence. Without Dr. King, I would not have received the education or employment that I have obtained up to this point in my life. Thank you for sacrificing your life to make life better for a lot of people, including myself. I happen to work for an employer that does not recognize this day as a holiday. I will take Jan. 21, 2002, off to pay respect to the man that has done so much for so many people around the world. This gentleman will always be an American hero to me.

Earnest, Anchorage, Alaska

I think Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great role model for young people. He helped bring the world together. It's still segregated in some places, but the thing is that he kept trying.

Jennifer, Luverne High School, Luverne, Ala.

I think because children today grow up with almost anything they want, they don't think about what King has done for us. They take for granted what is around them. All they want are the latest fashions, not knowing that if Martin Luther King Jr. had not done what he did for the nation as a whole, they would not be able to walk down the street to the store because most black people wouldn't have a job! I think the reason I value what he did so much is because I'm half Indian and half Black, so not only did my people get our land taken away as Indians, but as African we got taken away from our land to be slaves. That is why I know the importance of what he did.

Shaunté, South High School, Cleveland, Ohio

I am an African American Catholic priest. My take on ministry changed with The Rev. Dr. King's assassination. I began working on the streets of Tacoma and I came to see that African Americans, no matter what their status, were not taken seriously by the white power establishment at that time.

Given my Northwest education, where race was infrequently mentioned (1952-1968), I was deeply hurt by what I experienced in Tacoma. I went through a lot of confusion and pain, years of frustration. During that time I saw many nuns and priests who were Black change their way of being ... and many left ministry because they were not heard nor supported. I am very glad I changed. I want to support people in being honest, nonviolent and loving their race and culture, and out of that love, sharing with others.

I have become the person I am because of Dr. King and the teachers and friends that have spent time with me since 1968. There is no way I can repay them.

Joseph McGowan, SJ, teacher, O'Dea High School, Seattle

Dr. King's legacy lives on. We've not completely fulfilled his dream, but at a time when we are hurting and suffering as a nation — we reflect and realize that slowly the dream begans to be realized. On September 11, 2001, America was attacked. All Americans. It didn't matter if you were a descendant of slaves or slave owners, only that you were an American. May we never forget our history, or the promise of a better future. May God's grace and peace lead us toward the promised land that Dr. King so eloquently shared with us. His life on Earth ended way to soon, but Heaven is a better place with him there.

Greg, Covenant United Methodist Church, Arlington, Texas

I am a white woman married to the most wonderful man who happens to be black. I am not welcome to visit my sister's family in Virginia. When I was married to a bipolar, alcoholic WHITE man, we were more than welcome. Go figure. Some people still have their priorities skewed.

Deborah, Taunton, Mass.

Today, many corporations (like Boeing) preach fairness, equality and zero tolerance. Isn't it ironic that these same corporations seem intolerant when it comes to celebrating Martin Luther King Day?

Don, Boeing employee 24 years, Marysville, Wash.

As a black person growing up in Memphis, I remember the day Dr. King was killed. Our people thought all hope was lost. We lost the man, but his message lives on.

After moving to Seattle, I immediately noticed the difference in acceptance and equality. It is still a struggle, but we must not give up. While some parts of the country are willing to change and attempt to understand our differences, I have noticed that some Southern states hold dear their idea of white superiority and thrive on their ability to segregate.

I do hope that in this 21st century, that generation of people who still hate and teach hate to their children realize that this way of life has already been written in God's books and they will have to answer to it. Jesus taught love and acceptance of all people. My children are being taught acceptance, understanding and tolerance of all races and religions. These teachings will be passed on to their children as well. Maybe in their lifetime, in all states of this wonderful country, people will be standing together as Americans who share the opportunities and wealth of this country.

Janice, Kent, Wash.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has had a big impact on society today. His words of wisdom and understanding offer reassurance and faith to us people of colour. I myself, as a young adult, have been very touched by his teachings. Not only have they helped me to understand what is really going on in society, but how I as an individual can make a difference.

Charice, St. Jean de Brebeuf secondary school, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Our school has African Americans, and some of the parents don't let their kids hang out with them. That makes them feel rejected and I think it is rude. I would not tell my kids that.

Racheal, Undilla Valley Central School, New Berlin, N.Y.

I live in a predominately African-American neighborhood. Unfortunately, it is infested with drugs. We have young and old families here. My family moved to our neighborhood one year before Rev. King's untimely death. Since then a lot has changed. I want to believe his impact has been great but some people have their own "dream" that doesn't align with that of MLK and others. I have to admit that here in Texas, we are mostly considerate, friendly and generous people, but there is always a rotten apple in the bunch.

To Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., thank you for being an inspiration to me. I am a 33-year-old Mexican American who as a little boy didn't fully understand civil rights but knew it was wrong for someone to murder because of the Ten Commandments. Over the years, I have realized your dream and I try to help whenever possible. Are we where you would like us to be? I don't think we have gotten there completely. I say this because we are so diverse that it's like the transgressions have moved on to other nationalities. Rev. King, we are and will become a nation when all God's children join hands and sing the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we are free at last!" AMEN.

Raymond, Houston, Texas

I feel that if King could see these days now, he would be a very happy person. Everyone wishes he was still living so that they could talk to him about hard times. In my neighborhood, we act as a family, not against each other. I wish that people back then would have treated people like they are treated today.

Tanesha, Burke County Middle School, Waymesboro, Ga.

We think Dr. King was a very brave man. He stood up for all people and wanted everyone to be fair to all people. We are glad that we can sit together, eat together, go to school together and play together.

Brittany, Douglas and Michelle, Chapman's class, Park View Elementary, Mooresville, N.C.

I am a 45-year-old white female who has fought for civil rights, and Dr. King was my guiding light. Unfortunately, the fight is far from over. Racial problems are just as prevalent and probably even more insidious than they were in Dr. King's time. The worst crime of all is the indifference to it. Our government made Dr. King's birthday a holiday but does not enforce the civil-rights laws. The problem of racial intolerance and hatred in America is so deep and so much a part of our society that I fear it will take more major racial confrontations and death to bring it to the fore again. No one wants to talk about it for real. No one wants to take on the real issues, governmental and corporate racism.

We no longer have civil-rights leaders. Those people who masquerade as civil-rights leaders only challenge racism when it is not a risk to their political agendas. This fight is worth whatever it costs to win it. Until we are willing to talk honestly about the continued institutional racism that exists in our schools, government and corporations we will never kill the virus of hatred. Until we are willing to teach our children to cherish diversity, we will continue to raise people who hate.

Bonnie, Federal Way, Wash.

Martin Luther King Jr. is seen as an idol of Black activism and social justice in my country of temporary residence, Nigeria. His speech, 'I have a dream,' is very popular and well liked. Being born on the same day with him is very special to me and tells me that I will do something like what he did. I think race relations are better than what they were 50 years ago. However, there are still so many pockets of racial tensions around the world — in Australia, for example.

Olatidoye, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun state, Nigeria

1) I think Martin Luther King's impact on my community was a good one. We don't have any blacks in our community, but knowing what Martin Luther King did made us realize that we can do anything we put our heart to doing. Our dreams can come true due to what one person did for the country.

2) I feel that schools in our neighborhood could be better. There is too much racism and it should stop. All people were created equal and need to be treated just like the person that is racist against them.

3) I would characterize todays' race relationships, on a scale from 1-10, a 4.5. It is poor. Everybody thinks that blacks are not like them and that they have no right to be on the earth. Blacks have just as much right to be on this earth then we do.

Michelle, Northern Garrett High School, Accident, Md.

I feel very safe. I know a lot of people who feel safe. Blacks and whites are together as one in God's arms. I have so much respect for blacks today. They are just like us. I have realized they are just as nice as whites and can do the same things as whites. So for anyone out there who thinks blacks are less important, you are saying you think you are the top of the world, and only God can conquer that.

Laura, Regis Middle School, Eau Claire, Wis.

I am an eighth-grader at a Catholic school. My school is a great example of mixed nationalities. If you look into any classroom you can find at least two African Americans. Even though the majority of students are Caucasian, everyone gets along with each other like there is no difference in skin color, nationalities or genders.

Recent events (September 11) have created boundaries with some Americans and some Afghan Americans. Some Americans believe that all people from Afghanistan are like the terrorists who hijacked the planes and crashed them. They aren't, so if you think they are, they aren't.

Rachael, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Indianapolis, Ind.

I grew up in the '60s and '70s and know firsthand how it was to live in segregated South Carolina. I learned about black pride through King's movement and through the Black Panthers. I have witnessed a great deal of positive change, but I am also aware of a lot of subtle discrimination.

I have watched as blacks work twice as hard as whites to get paid less. It is also disheartening to see the disparity in the incarceration of minorities when compared to the percentage of the population. It is true that minorities have made great strides in sports and music, but these are talents that cannot be denied. I have also observed the quality of life improve for most blacks.

Furthermore, I have seen the negative images blacks have embraced and perpetrated upon themselves. These negative images serve as justification to the KKK and skinheads in this country.

Yet, when everything has been said and analyzed there is no better place to live than in the United States. And although my son is only 6 years old, it is truly a tribute to Dr. King's dream that he has no idea of discrimination. We live in a multicultural neighborhood and have friends of several ethnicities.

Deborah, Los Angeles, Calif.

Most communities are out of touch with reality, living a violent lifestyle; there are no future plans. Parents are not communicating with their children, leaving them alone to find their way in life. Moral values are not passed from one generation to another. School is not viewed as a vehicle out of poverty and ignorance. Respect for authority is nonexistent.

I sense that the impact of MLK in my school community is one of hate (because they feel rejected) and violence (as a means to solve rejection). They still feel discriminated against and the scars of slavery are still bleeding. Most students have not been able to use the freedom struggle to take advantage of it and prepare themselves for a better future.

Education is the solution, but when we see how education is failing the students, how parents are not taking a leading role in their children's education, we know there will be another demonstration. Parents need to take charge of their children and make sure they are respectable, learn respect, and build a future emulating those who died for all the good things we enjoy today — including public schools.

Bethsaida, Lowell Russel School, Chicago, Ill.

As for race relations today, I still think it is a big issue. There are still hate crimes in school, at work and in normal day-to-day life. I don't know if I have the answer to fix it, nor do I think it will go away in my lifetime, but there are ways to curb it. One answer is in teaching. We need to start with our children because we continue the cycle with them. If we start with just one generation and teach them love, tolerance, and patience — and keep teaching that to the next one and then the next one, eventually our generation will die off and any lingering effects will fade until everyone is one race, no matter the color. That is my hope.

Faith, Vashon, Wash.

I think people are now treated as equals no matter what their color is. I live in a city where there are mostly black people. The kids that go to the school there are every rough and like to settle their problems by fighting the person they have an issue with. The race problems are better than when my mother was a child. And people are more respectful of each other today. And I am blessed that I am around kids who care for each other and don't handle their problems the physical way.

Trinity, Cathedral School, St. Louis, Mo.

There is not much race where I live, but I think that people will always think differently about people who aren't the same color as others.

Ashley, Mary N. Smith Middle School, Richmond, Va.

I feel that the modern-day schools ignore the true tribute to him. I am an Americorps member (The International Gallery For Heritage and Culture). We are having a workshop for kids tomorrow, and I am very excited as well as proud. I will be allowing my 10-year-old daughter to miss a day at school to go so she can learn the things that everyday schools do not get involved in.

Tammie, Pawtucket, R.I.

Equality is still a dream for black Americans. Racism has taken a new form to hide from the law of justice. Minorities are still the first to be fired and last to be hired. The glass ceiling for women is cracked but not broken, black men are still the most targeted being on Earth. White America is holding on to power at all cost due to their smaller numbers being projected in the next five years. Black America has become too contented with the crumbs they have been fed; they think they have arrived. Race relations in America? Not good at all. Look at the leadership in America, look in our corporate boardrooms, look in federal service: blacks are the exception, not the norm.

Leanon, Pennsylvania

Martin L. King represented the best in humanity because he stood for justice for all. During my 53 years, I have known injustice, from being placed in a remedial class even though my teacher recommended me to go to an honors science class, to being stopped by police because I matched the description of a robbery suspect. I spent 30 years working in the criminal-justice field and saw discrimination of other minorities because they were viewed as inferior to others. The awareness that was raised by Dr. King and the movement caused me to focus more on the teachings of Jesus to love my neighbor rather than judge him based on his race, creed or sex.

As I think about the right to vote, we are again taking things for granted because we devalue ourselves and in the process become disenfranchised because we don't take a stand for what is right and righteous. We have power and don't use it. That is the legacy of Martin Luther King to me: That we use what God has given us freely to make this world a better place.

Dwight, Joliet, Ill.

There are a lot of white people in my community, and everyone loves me. They don't judge me by my skin color, but the way I act.

Karmelitta, Roosevelt School, Philadelphia, Penn.

I think the impact of MLK will be felt forever. When I hear his speeches it sends goosebumps up my spine. I only wish he was still around today to have that kind of impact on the world .

Linda, State Street School, Windsor, Vermont

I don't really think that what Mr. King did has affected the people in my community, but of course I live in a small town so it is worse and people discriminate. I think that a good 80 percent of my town is racist, and I am in the other 20 percent because I believe that it is wrong to hate someone just because they are a different race. I mean, they are only human, you know. They are the same as us and it just makes me angry.

Sammy, Belmond-Klemme Jr./Sr. High School, Rowan, Iowa

He must have been a good person, 'cause no one could spray me and have me keep my cool. I have a temper problem as it is, so it would have been hard.

DaQuann, Palmer Middle School, Kennsaw, Ga.

I think he had a big impact on us. Instead of residents in my community judging people by the color of their skin or how they dress or look, they see them as the person they really are. And the thing with the schools, I thought it was a pretty good idea to mix up the different types of people. Now, we can learn all different types of cultures and religions. I really think people can get involved with other races besides their own.

Chela, Landstown High School, Virginia Beach, Va.

Wow! If Martin Luther King Jr. was able to see the impact he has had on me and my community I am sure he would he would realize that all his hard work was worthwhile. The world that we live in is not yet perfect, but thanks to people like Dr. King, it is gradually changing for the better. People are learning through time. If more people were like him, the world might be perfect.

Jennifer, Metropolitan Preparatory Academy, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The year King died, I was in grade school in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in a predominantly white school that I was the first black child to attend. He made it possible for me to be able to say with pride: I will in my way continue the dream. I will teach others, by the content of my character, that we as a proud and glorious people will not be destroyed, and we will view that land that Dr. King spoke of in his speech.

Race relations today have improved some, but still have a long way to go. The "proof is in the pudding" when we see how easily some people reverted to a mob mentality after Sept. 11, when innocent people (many more than were reported, I'm sure) were harassed and frightened.

Here in Minnesota, a Somalian elder was beaten and later died after their community was accused of assisting terrorists by supplying them with money. The African American and Somalian community are at odds. It can at times be very volatile, with children oftentimes fighting in the schools. Is this not by design? "If we keep them warring amongst themselves, then how can they unite against us?" I hope for the believers in good, justice and equality that we exercise these characteristics on a daily basis. No, we may not all receive Nobel peace prizes, but it is the peace that one attains from within that is so very important. Let our hearts, not our tongues, speak for us.

Jannie, Hopkins, Minn.

You are great. You're the best. You made a difference in our world. I wish you were still alive — if you were, I would e-mail you all day.

Jorge, Walter V. Long Elementary, Las Vegas, Nev.

Though the blanket of racial segregation still hovers above us, he has lifted a piece of it by which the light may shine in and dissipate the darkness. Thank you, King. We shall ever remember.

Wade, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Laie, Hawaii

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