A dream not yet realized

Rick Kriesky: A dream not yet realized

This past Monday our nation celebrated the life and the legacy of a great American, a great leader and, most importantly, a great human being, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.

Through his insightful perception and uncommon courage, he called out the inequities that he saw in our society without fear of retribution and with great risk to himself and his family. Dr. King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” is just as relevant today as it was in 1963.

In the letter, Dr. King stated, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. ... We can never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’ and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was ‘illegal.’ ... I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are presently misunderstood.”

Dr. King’s legacy and courage is without equal among this country’s “freedom fighters.” His battles for racial equity and his support of those who were economically disadvantaged were not common in 1963, nor are they common in 2018.

For public school educators it is up to us to share Dr. King’s vision with our students and keep his dream and the flame of social justice, equity and freedom alive. Dr. King inspired many of us to believe that if everyone in our country is free to reach their full potential, then we as a nation can lift America up and ultimately lift up the world.

Public schools cannot allow the flame of his dream to be extinguished. That flame can light our country and the glow from that fire can light the world.

In Lexington City Schools, we are charged with the development of our children, and that is truly God’s work. It is up to us to help a new generation develop into caring, open, idealistic and authentic human beings. Our hope is that our students embrace Dr. King’s legacy and become activists and reformers willing to take whatever risks are necessary to make our country, our state and our community safe for democracy and free from tyranny.

As Dr. King pointed out in the letter, to watch actions that are “legal” but unjust and remain silent is turning a blind eye to the law of God. It is our hope in Lexington City Schools that we support the growth of our students and help them learn how to think, not what to think.

We also hope that our children grow into citizens who will have the courage to question school superintendents, school boards, mayors, county commissioners, state legislators and even presidents. We in Lexington City Schools believe that our children can lead us to the reality of Dr. King’s dream, because we are not there yet.


Rick Kriesky is superintendent Lexington City Schools