The Martin Luther King holiday is a time to reflect on the work of this civil rights icon did and to encourage citizens to practice some of the principles he followed. In Omaha, Neb., Tuskegee attorney Fred Gray did just that with several groups and organizations.
During the weekend of King’s holiday, Gray was invited to speak at the 34th Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Luncheon sponsored by the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA) in Omaha. But before he spoke at the luncheon, he was invited to speak to two Churches of Christ congregations and church services of IMA.
Gray’s theme throughout the weekend was the work that was performed during the Civil Rights Movement and what we need to be doing today.
There are four fundamental things that Gray wants toremind the country of: 1. Racism still exists in this country; 2. Recognize that it still is an issue; 3. Make a plan to combat the issue; and 4. Implement the plan once it is in place.
Gray understands that the country feels that racism is not a problem, but there are many reports that show it is and it comes in different forms.
“Although schools have been integrated, schools are more segregated now than ever,” Gray explained. “And they are surely not equal.”
He also expressed how some gains have been made in economic wealth for some African Americans, but that wealth was because of the work of others — and that far too many blacks are not trying to give back.
“We have to help those from our former neighborhoods,” Gray said. “We have to let them know they are worth it and try to do what we can to bring them forward as well. We can’t just sit by and watch them not succeed.”
Gray put an emphasis on education and teaching others that they are worthy.
He explained it as the “learning to live life with the ups and downs,” the Joseph story.
“First love your enemies and thank God for them; second, stand and be covered by the blood of Christ and don’t retaliate; and finally. God will give you your blessings,” Gray stated.
While in Omaha, Gray received the key to the City, a citation from Creighton University and a citation from the Nebraska’s Governor Pete Ricketts.
Gray accepts the awards on behalf of all those lives he has improved in his 63 years of practicing law.
“It is with a lot of help along the way, including Divine intervention, I think we have been able to change the landscape of America,” states Gray. “We were also able to help increase freedom and democracy around the world.”