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Two steps closer to realizing the dream

Has the dream been realized?

This question is the theme for the 2022 slate of Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities held throughout this week.

It’s an important question for each of us to ask.

The slate of events includes a speaker tonight, Dr. Drew Hart of Messiah College and other speakers on Wednesday.

It also includes a week-long drive to collect donations for Firetree Place and Dwell Orphan Care.

We don’t believe there is any concrete or consistent answer to the question the week’s theme poses. The world is too big and too nuanced for that. For every example or instance one could cite as evidence that we’ve realized the dream, we are confident an example of how we’ve fallen short also can be found.

But we do believe we can come closer as a community to realizing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream through two approaches — both reflected well by the plans for Dream Week by the organizers, the United Churches of Lycoming County, Beloved Community Council, Lycoming College and Pennsylvania College of Technology.

First, we should listen to a diverse spectrum of perspectives. We should be fair and open-minded when listening to or reading the perspectives of people with whom we may not agree.

Second, we should recognize and practice the value of community service.

For years, Dream Week’s organizers have brought speakers to our community to share perspectives many of us may not often contemplate. They have organized blood drives, the collections of donated goods and other community service projects that both improve the community in immediate ways, but also foster an appreciation for the value of community service.

And a community that values service to others and values a fair consideration of the points of view of others is a community moving closer to realizing the dream — a worthwhile goal we all should pursue.

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