Wintersteen: Bring community together for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

John Wintersteen

The next three weeks, in preparation for joining together as a Paradise Valley community to celebrate Dr. King’s vision for America on Monday, Jan. 21, are a good opportunity to consider the purpose of this holiday.

What would Martin Luther King Jr. likely think of America today, of what its citizens and other residents do for each other?

Certainly, he would notice improvement in the way fellow Americans do treat African Americans — not perfection, but progress — and in other areas such equality for women — again not perfection.

Today, it seems that our American society is becoming more and more polarized over many, many issues. Open and honest dialog — including attentive listening — seems more and more desirable.

Dr. King welcomed people from all walks of life, across the vast racial divide in the South as well as elsewhere, to bring their perspectives and diverse backgrounds together to shape a better future. In his vision, the goal was a dialog where respectful words would be met with respect, if not agreement. For him, the regular non-violent protests he led would no longer be needed but would be replaced with open dialog.

For Dr. King, respectful dialog accompanied by doing things for others was the path, even if he disagreed strongly with some as a matter of non-negotiable principle.

This was the path he followed with his vision for a world where all people respect and love each other, where peace reigns. In our own way, let’s recommit to DO what we can as individuals to bring Dr. King’s vision a few steps closer to reality. During the next three weeks, please make time to reflect on Dr. King’s ideals on a regular basis and consider what YOU can do for others in your New Year’s resolutions.

Join us on MLK Day

Please join your fellow Paradise Valley residents and other long-time friends of the Town’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration on Monday, Jan. 21, starting at 11 a.m., in the Town Hall council chamber. Due to limited seating and parking, it’s best to arrive about 15 minutes early.

And bring some canned and boxed food for the needy in the Paradise Valley area! A box is located inside the front door of town hall, close to the Post Office. You can leave your canned and boxed food at this location during scheduled business hours.

Editor’s Note: John Wintersteen is a 23-year resident of the Town of Paradise Valley who served the community as Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety for 14 years. He is a retired US Marine officer who has been actively involved in the Town’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration since its inception in 1999.

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