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Winning Entry Selected in Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest

Congratulations to Daniel K. Khatchadourian, winner of the Martin Luther King Jr. student essay contest sponsored by the Student Activities Office. He won a $25 gift certificate to Smokey Jo’s Barbeque. And, congratulations to Shameia Lee, the winner of the Martin Luther King Jr. trivia contest. She won two one-day passes to the Fitness Center, and a free video or game rental from the Campus Center video store.

Khatchadourian’s award-winning essay follows:

“I Have a Dream”

It’s Martin Luther King Jr. day again, and that invariably makes me think of the state of race relations in the United States and how much has changed since Dr. King’s time. While it’s obvious that things have improved since the days of segregation, there’s still a disparity in this country that should disgust every American between white and black, but to a larger, between the rich and poor of all races.

It’s a little known fact that the last few years of King’s life were spent fighting for the rights of all poor Americans, as well as speaking out against the war in Vietnam that was raging at the time. What I wonder is there’s no doubt King would have much to say were he still alive, but would we listen? The government response to Hurricane Katrina raised huge doubts in the minds of both white and black Americans as to whether their government cared about them after all, would anyone seriously opine that the response to a disaster like Katrina would be as shoddy as it was if that disaster occurred in Kennebunkport, Maine?

Everyone reflects on this day, but we have to start doing more than that or we risk forgetting the great legacy of standing up to oppression and fighting for racial unity that King gave us. We still have a lot of work to do the gap between rich and poor in this country is growing ever larger, and that’s not being helped by slashing the funding for social programs that would help the poor of all races raise their kids, go to college, or afford an apartment or food. Just as in Dr. King’s time a war is raging in a far-off land and of course, we must win it. On this day however, we should remember what King was fighting for a day where all Americans, regardless of skin color, language, religion, or “net worth” have a chance to pursue the American dream and provide a better life for their children. Let’s not lose that battle.

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