Martin Luther King Day: Are We Keeping The Promise?

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, Rep. Gerry Connolly and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova were among the local dignitaries at Reston Community Center Monday for RCC’s Annual Martin Luther King Day celebration.

The events at RCC wrapped up three days of MLK Day events — including a commemorative march, a keynote concert with venerable a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock and community service projects — in Reston.

Each year, RCC asks the question “Are we keeping the promise?”

There still is a way to go in America, Warner said.

“It is a challenging time,” Warner said. “Dr. King would have been 85 this year, and we think of 50 years since his ‘I have a dream’ speech” about how far we have come, but also how far we have to go.”

Warner pointed out some of the challenges today, particularly for people of color: access to education, health care and racial intolerance.

“We need to rededicate ourselves to that dream not just on this Monday in January, but every day of our lives,” he said.

Connolly said Reston is a great example of a pioneering civil rights vision. Robert Simon, who was also at Monday’s MLK Day luncheon at RCC, founded Reston in 1964 with the idea that people of many races and economic circumstances could live alongside each other in one community.

“In many ways, the multicultural community Martin Luther King hoped for is right here in Reston,” he said. “It is a welcoming community that was willing to challenge conventional wisdom. The fact a community like this was built is really a beacon of hope. Reston is something special.”

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