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Graves: Remember the past, reimagine the future

Published 3:39pm Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech painted a picture of the Civil Rights pioneer’s vision for the United States.

On Monday, Dr. Gregory Graves reminded a capacity crowd at Dunbar Recreation Center, that the picture is not yet complete.

“We have come a mighty, mighty long ways, but we have yet so far go,” Graves said.

Graves, who served as the keynote speaker at the Butler County Civic League’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast, challenged those in attendance to “see the world as it really is.”

Graves then encouraged the crowd not to stop there.

“I’d ask that you reimagine the world as it ought to be,” he said. “Our future depends on it.”

Graves, who serves as the associate executive secretary for the Alabama Education Association, said a key to realizing the dream King presented in his speech was to remember the past.

“There is value and healing in reflecting on the past,” he said. “Movement forward must be premised on the existence of the past. There can be no movement forward unless we learn from the mistakes of the past.”

Graves reminded those in attendance that remembering doesn’t mean clinging to the past.

“I’m sickened by the fact that there are those of us, both black and white, that hang on to the past and a hate for and a fear for those that are different than we are,” he said. “… If we are to move forward to positive change, we must drop our fear of those who are different from us. We must love one another.”

Graves said King was a perfect example.

“Through his love for man, he helped reshape mankind,” Graves said.

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