Stand up to injustice, MLK speaker urges at ECC
If you see a kid smoking weed and cutting school, tell him what's right.
If you see a company engage in corporate malfeasance, don't remain silent.
If you see someone being bullied, speak up in his defense.
That's how people should apply civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.'s message to their everyday lives, said motivational speaker Dan Duster, a great-grandson of civil rights pioneer Ida B. Wells.
Duster, president of 3D Development Group, was the guest speaker at the 28th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast held Saturday at Elgin Community College.
"It's important to embrace our dreams, and everybody else's dream too, for justice for all," he said, referencing King's "I Have a Dream" speech of 1963.
While the fight for civil rights is far from over, people should always fight against any injustice they witness, whether it involves them or not, Duster said.
"Achieving goals is not about the absence of fear in achieving things. It's about overcoming fears," he said.
"Being a leader is about, 'Nobody's got my back, and I'm still going to stand,'" he said, pointing out that was his great-grandmother's attitude when she started her anti-lynching campaign in 1892.
Elgin resident Yvonne Armstrong said that was a welcome message. She has been attending the breakfast for at least 15 years, and it always reminds her of how far African-Americans have come, and how far they still have to go, she said.
"It really gives you the chance to think about the things you can do in the community," she said.
Twin sisters Kenya and Aisha Dean, 17, attended the event with a group from Bethesda Church of God in Christ in Elgin.
"It was good. I would come back," Kenya said. "At our school they are talking about lessons like this right now. It kind of rekindled what we learned in school."
The breakfast event is sponsored by Elgin's Human Relations Commission, which also recognized community members with 2013 Humanitarian Awards.
The youth award went to Quamie Hayes, a sophomore at South Elgin High School, while the adult award was given to Mae Hicks-Jones, a vice president at Northern Trust. The organization award went to the Boys & Girls Club of Elgin.
Elgin's celebration of King's legacy continues Sunday with a public program filled with music and speakers from 4 to 6 p.m. at Second Baptist Church, 1280 Summit St., Elgin.
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