AUSTIN, Texas - The United Way for Greater Austin typically holds service events for MLK Day. However, they were forced to change that due to the pandemic. So, they held virtual and socially-distanced events instead.
More than 150 community members logged on Monday morning to take part.
During a virtual discussion, they posed a question that comes from one of Dr. King's famous quotes: "What are you doing for others?"
They talked about the historical and systemic racism right here in our own communities. There were also moments of reflection. And, Dr. Kazique Prince asked those in attendance to call on their ancestors to help them during these challenging times.
"By calling them out and by calling them out by name reminds them to come and bless this moment, this time and to give us strength when we feel weak," Prince said. "To give us a sense of belief when we feel a sense of disbelief. To affirm our feelings of dread and frustration but affirm our experiences without question."
He added this past year has been monumental,
Dr. Prince said now, many Americans are getting a glimpse of the reality of racism so many have been living with, for years.
"I think the memory of Dr. King and others will help us to center ourselves and give us guidance, to help us really figure out our next steps to this really majestic journey to freedom and liberation and a real sense of fairness and democracy," Prince said.
David Smith said the words of Dr. King should not only be a reminder today but all days. "They are more relative than ever as people are struggling through a pandemic and the related economic challenges," he said. But, also all that we’re facing as a country."
Brooke Freeland adds voice is power. "When you speak up for something that you believe in, you’re likely advocating," she said.
Saying sharing solutions to community challenges and rallying others to action, can make change. "Advocating is ongoing and the more you do it, the more effective you become," Freeland said.