Those gathered Monday were asked what was needed in Anderson and Madison County to be a community that ensures educational excellence for all students.
“We need to think critically about issues that matter where we reside,” Lewis said. “We should never treat anyone as less than a human being no matter the color of their skin or how they are dressed. We should treat everyone with respect.”
Lewis said the community needs a moral transformation and that King’s message was rooted in the Christian faith.
“We’re all connected,” he said. “The goal is to seek what is best for the community.
“Truth can hurt and be uncomfortable at times,” Lewis continued. “But as Jesus said, the truth can set you free.”
Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith remarked that the Martin Luther King Jr. Day citywide celebration has been the one day that the city has come together for each of the 34 years.
“We should think about how every day we can come and work together to accomplish our goals,” he said. “Anderson faces challenges; we can fix them through unified action.”
Smith said the long-term focus of the community should be about the people who will follow the current city residents.
“There has been a great deal of change and hope in Anderson over the past 34 years,” he said.
Follow Ken de la Bastide @KendelaBastide on Twitter, or call 640-4863.