ANDERSON – Anderson and Madison County should work together to bring educational opportunities to all residents of the community, was the message of Dr. James Lewis during the annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Throughout his lifetime and during his fight for civil rights in America, King stressed that we are all tied together in a shared destiny.
Lewis, the keynote speaker at the Paramount Theatre on Monday, is the dean-elect of the School of Theology at Anderson University. From the day we are all born we are dependent on the gifts that others bring into our lives, he said.
“We need a community of self-sacrifice and a willingness to do things together,” he said.
Lewis said the community should not settle on half-truths and political rhetoric when it comes to how we view the local educational institutions.
He expressed optimism that local residents are looking to begin a voluntary pre-kindergarten program; that Gov. Mike Pence wants to start a high school program for adults and equity in education funding.
Lewis said compensation for teachers should be protected for those willing to teach in under-achieving schools or at charter schools for low-income students.
“There should be equal opportunity to education and extracurricular activities,” he said. “We should pursue together the kind of education for the benefit of the entire community.”
Lewis said King’s dream of equal education is close to being achieved.
Growing up in Houston, Lewis said, he had limited access to many of the goods, services and institutions available in the community.
“The limits in education were to maintain the status quo,” Lewis said.
He said King’s quest for equal opportunity was not looking for an easy answer and half-baked solutions.
“A true education is to think intensely and critically,” Lewis said. “The most dangerous person is the one with reasoning, but has no morals.”