CREATED Aug. 28, 2013
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Dozens of locals gathered at Ebenezer Church of God in Christ Wednesday night, for a town hall meeting celebrating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's iconic "I Have A Dream" speech.
A powerhouse panel of civic leaders and members of law enforcement addressed issues Dr. King raised in 1963. Many of those issues are still faced by people of color right now.
For Angela Thomas, they are "Youth and family."
Reverend Jimmie Lee Walker focused on "Government abuse"
Metro Assistant Sheriff Greg McCurdy faced questions about the department's use of force and "Bias-based policing. Racial profiling."
Everyone agreed, that despite decades of civil rights progress, racism is still very real.
District Attorney Steve Wolfson said, "When you walk into the criminal courts and you see the in-custody's and there's 20 men or women sitting up there and 15 are Black? That's wrong."
The focus of the town hall meeting was to shine a light on what's right.
Delta Sigma Sorority Chapter president Tya Mathis said, "We all have concerns about education. We all have concerns about our children. We all have concerns about the elderly, people without enough food to eat. So, this is only the beginning, celebrating the fifty years, but it's really important where we're going to go now."
Angela Thomas said young people need to be included in the local and national discussion of race relations. She said, "Make room for the young people at the table. Don't tell them what they think. Give them an opportunity to express their thoughts, their needs, their desires and their dreams."
Stephanie Shelby agreed, "I bring my granddaughters because I want them to see this. I'd like them to see that African-Americans do make a difference."
County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly welcomed the opportunity to address tough issues, but added, "It shouldn't have to be anniversaries or special occasions that draw us together as a community. We should do this on a regular basis like every other community does."
And Metro Assistant Sheriff Greg McCurdy spoke of Dr. King's dream, then and now, "I certainly think the country's come a long way. But I still think there's a long way to go, and I think we all need to keep working collaboratively across all racial lines and be supportive of one another."