City prepares for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- There is renewed praise for South Bend’s decision to observe the Martin Luther King Jr holiday. ABC57 found out how the message behind the holiday inspired the city to allow city workers to have the day off so they can take part in the celebrations.

He had a dream that one day this nation would rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

"Dr. Martin Luther King had that dream that everybody would work together in a cooperative manner, and that is what America is all about,” said Gladys Muhammad, Key Organizer 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration.

For 27 years, Gladys Muhammad's goal has been to bring people together so they can see their value and the worth as a human being regardless of the color of their skin.

For years, city workers have been unable to participate because they were required to work on the holiday.

"They need to be able to come together to meet each other; otherwise that would never happen,” said Muhammad.

This year the common council passed a resolution giving all city employees the holiday off. Something activists have fought a long time for using lessons learned from Dr. King.

"You have to be persistent in what you want and you have to be accurate with your facts and you have to be able to work with others,” said Robert Smith, Chairman, Martin Luther King Senior Men's Club.

While the ability to celebrate a national holiday may not seem like a big deal, denial of that opportunity strikes at the core of what Dr. King stood for.

"Dr. Martin Luther King said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' And we all need to carry that, because it don't (sic) matter what's happening to anybody in the world, we have to stand for that. We have to stand for the people who cannot stand for themselves,” said Muhammad Shabazz, Civil Rights Charity Center.

Click here for a full list of events to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in South Bend.

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