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Dreaming with the courage to take action

Local children perform a dance during the 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at the Kitsap Fairgrounds Monday. - Photo by Charles Melton
Local children perform a dance during the 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at the Kitsap Fairgrounds Monday.
— image credit: Photo by Charles Melton

Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Theodore Spearman exhorted parents and other adults to take a more active role in shaping the lives of today's youth as he spoke at the 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at the Kitsap Fairgrounds Monday morning.

The event, which was co-sponsored by Ebenezer A.M.E. Church in Bremerton and Kitsap County, drew a crowd of about 100 people to the Presidents Hall as several community leaders read proclamations in support of King's dream and applauding the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama the following day.

"It's a time for activism, not 'slackism,'" emcee Vicki Collins told the crowd. "It's up to me and you to continue what he (King) started."

Obama was elected to change the country, but he can't do it alone, so it will take every individual doing their part to make the change, Collins said.

Through Obama's campaign, the message of hope reverberated across the nation and even after his defeat in the New Hampshire primary, Obama spoke about the power to change America and act upon dreams, Spearman reminded those in attendance.

"Each generation leans toward the other with love," he said. "Children are our pieces of art and they can be masterpieces."

However, in order for them to be masterpieces, they need parents who are willing to spend time with them and share their values, he said, adding that one of the challenges facing the nation is that of oppositional cultures.

"Sometimes children think academic achievement or love for learning is being white, that an interest in math and science is being white," he said.

While nothing could be farther from the truth, children need to be encouraged to pursue those endeavors, so they can reach their full potential, he said.

"Sometimes children won't be satisfied with mediocrity and we don't need to pull them down," he explained. "Kids are our art."

As Bishop Lawrence Robertson said at last year's MLK Day event, the world is flatter, but it is "only if you have the ante up," Spearman said.

"The ante up is passion, focus, education and dedication," he said.

To help children ante up, parents must read to their children even before they are born, he said.

"Turn the TV off. It doesn't work," he said. "I know this is hard, but this is your masterpiece."

Parents should encourage and empower their children to live their dreams, he said.

"Put children first," Spearman said.

Collins concluded by saying, "Yes, we can and yes, we did and we will keep on."

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