The traditional City of Albany “Beloved Community March” from the Empire State Plaza Concourse to the King Monument was led by a new mayor and her administration today.
New Yorkers converged on Albany for Monday morning's annual official observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and legacy. It included a march along city streets to nearby Lincoln Park and the statue of King.
Andre Rivera is a Commissioner on Human Rights for the city of Albany. "There's a new era. You know you have a new adminisration. And what I found historical about is what Dr. King that we can all do this together. It was very diverse. We had the common Council members, which I believe was a historical moment for the city of Albany, so it tells me right there that Albany is headin' towards the direction of what Dr. King said could happen if we all stand together."
Fifth ward councilman Mark Robinson stands inspired and determined to help change his neighborhood. k "This is a very important day for me, my family, as well as my community, just moving forward, one day at a time, one block at a time, one yard at a time, hopefully we'll see results in the near future."
First ward councilwoman Dorcey Applyrs: "I am always thankful to hear people from diverse backgrounds celebrating the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I am also always proud to hear people acknowledge the fact that we've come a long way but we have a long way to go."
Assemblyman John McDonald agrees: "When people are going without housing or they're going without jobs or being underemployed, it shows that the message that Dr. King presented over fifty years ago is a message we still continue to need getting out there on a daily basis."
Congressman Paul Tonko also acknowledged that long journey ahead. "When we see the gap between the most comfortable and the struggling middle class and those falling out of the middle class, those hopelessly in the working poor category, there's gotta be more social and economic justice, so we need to move for economic fairness, we need to move for equal opportunity to dream the American dream, and we need to polish our democracy so that we keep moving toward perfection."
Albany City Auditor Leif Engstom weighed in: "We have slipped in the last 40 years when it comes to caring for other Americans and caring for our country. We've been offshoring jobs. American corporations seem to have forgotten that they're American."
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan is impressed with the New York State Museum's recording of a 1962 speech by Dr. King that hadn’t been heard since it was delivered in New York City. "I hope that we can actually listen to that here first and use it here in our city first in our schools. It's something that we should be very very proud of and it's an exciting discovery."
Perhaps the concluding prayer at the ceremony reflects the composite mood of the day: "...now look to the person next to ya and say 'neighbor, I love you and there ain't nothin' you can do about it!'"