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Racial tensions can be overcome by volunteerism
Today is a federal holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., but if anyone is hoping for continued improvement of race relations in the 50 years since his assassination, they may be disappointed.
The latest Economist/YouGov Poll (http://bit.ly/2rdRncf) indicates two of three of those surveyed say race relations are bad today, a higher number than the percentage who thought that three years ago.
In January 2014, majorities of both blacks and whites said relations between the races were good — the same results recorded between 2009 and 2013.
But 2014 events like highly-publicized shootings of African-Americans and the expansion of the Black Lives Matter movement, have hurt race relations.
The downward trend continued through the last years of Barack Obama’s presidency, and continued through the first year of Donald Trump’s term, exacerbated by deadly confrontations in Charlottesville, Va., and other places last year. This week’s presidential comments about s***hole countries, brought accusations of racism as well, despite Trump’s denials.
While angry confrontations almost never change people’s minds, King’s dedication to peaceful, nonviolent protest deserves another look today.
So too does a call from ServeNebraska to make MLK Day “a day on, not a day off.”
While racial tensions can result in angry confrontations, few can argue with someone who spends time volunteering for a worthy cause.
We mentioned one example last week, applying to become a TeamMates youth mentor, but there are many examples. We saw one at Christmastime when volunteers rang bells at shopping centers for the Salvation Army. The recent Toy Box and Coat Closet give-aways were two other notable examples.
Check with the McCook Humane Society and you might get a chance to walk a dog or contribute in dozens of other ways to a worthy cause. You’ll find many other opportunities at your church, the McCook Pantry or many other agencies or organizations.
“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.