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Dreams live on

Mid Valley third-graders study Dr. King and his meaning for today

In preparation for the Martin Luther King Day national holiday, third graders in Odell have been looking at Martin Luther King’s life and how it has affected their own.

Concepts of fairness, love and equality are on many people’s minds as Monday is a national holiday, honoring the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and was assassinated in 1968.

An MLK memorial celebration with music is planned Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Riverside Community Church. The community is welcome; turn to page A10 for details.

“Dr. King said to his friends, ‘If I die just keep going,’” said Alyssa Gastner.

“Martin Luther King said ‘peace’ when they said ‘war’ and ‘love’ when they said ‘hate,’” said Maria Castaneda. “He made a huge speech called ‘I Have A Dream’…”

Teacher Sandi Abramson said, “They really get it. They understand that there are reasons their school is the way it is, with all kinds of people studying together, and they have Martin Luther King largely to thank for that. And it’s something they are really interested in and want to learn about. I feel like we are helping keep history alive for them.”

The students remember much of what they had learned in past years, Abramson noted.

The students have been reading books and making art, and hearing stories including memories of their principal, Dennis McCauley, who spoke to the students about how he met Dr. King in the early 1960s as a Portland high school student who traveled to the South to work for civil rights.

The students have been talking about why Dr. King is a hero, and what dreams they have for their own future and for society.

“We wanted to find out why it is we have this holiday; that it’s more than just a day off from school,” Abramson said. “And we talked about the character of Dr. King because here at Mid Valley we talk a lot about developing good, strong character, and they learned a lot about Martin Luther King and what he stood for, why he won the awards he did, and his gift for speaking to people.

“We talk about why the ‘I Have A Dream’ speech was important and what was he dreaming about, and about our school and how it would look very different today if there had not been a change in laws.”

See page A4 for more of the students’ insights on Dr. King, and their own dreams.

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Gorge residents are invited to participate in a musical celebration of the life, work and dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 20, at 6:30 p.m.

The theme of this year’s celebration, sponsored by Gorge Ecumenical Ministries, is “The Dreams of Martin Luther King Jr. Live On: Building a Community with Justice for All.” The event will feature music from a community-wide gospel choir, directed by local musician Tim Mayer.

The MLK events will take place at Riverside Community Church, located at Fourth and State streets in downtown Hood River. They are free of charge and open to the public.

The musical event will be preceded by a potluck dinner for friends and members of GEM, which will begin at 5:30.

“On the MLK holiday we will gather to reflect upon and celebrate the spirit-filled, justice-oriented work of King,” remarked Rev. Vicky Stifter. “We will also lift up the injustice and unfulfilled dreams that still exist in the lives of many in our own community.”

In addition to the music, event organizer and Gorge resident Graciela Gomez will share words of inspiration and challenge.

Donations will be accepted to benefit the work of Peace Village, an interfaith program that introduces children and youth in our communities to the principles and experience of non-violent conflict resolution.

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The play “Driving Miss Daisy,” which refers to Dr. King as part of its theme of individuals working for civil rights, opens at Columbia Center for the Arts on Jan. 17-18, and continues Jan. 24-26.

The play is produced and directed by Lynda Dallman for the annual Plays for Non-Profits. Ticket sales benefit three groups: The Next Door Inc., Friends of the Hood River County Libraries, and Start Making A Reader Today. (See page A9 for details.)

Holiday: Open and closed

Closed on Jan 20, Martin Luther King Day:

n Schools, banks and government offices

n Hood River County Library and branches

n Hood River Valley Adult Center

Open:

n Hood River County Aquatic Center is on regular schedule, with a special $1 swim from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

n Hood River Garbage Service routes will be on regular schedule.

n Hood River News offices will be open.

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