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Gathering held at Latino Community Association in Bend to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

Restorative Justice & Equity, The Father's Group host event

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Two Bend groups, Restorative Justice and Equity and the The Father's Group, came together for a public celebration Monday of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Dozens of people gathered at the Latino Community Association in Bend to talk and learn more about King, and the dream he stood for. The civil rights activist and Baptist minister's vision of greater equality still strikes a chord across the country to this day.

The Bend event included a video of King's speeches, a community panel, a reading corner for children and an opportunity to draw your own "Dream Square" quilt. 

Restorative Justice and Equity's mission is to use justice practices to raise academic and social engagement. The Father’s Group's mission is to enhance the lives of the black community. 

"It's a deeply moving thing for me to be here and think back to the past 50 years or so -- the progress and issues we've had to deal with," RJ&E's Co-Chair & Father's Group member Dalton Miller-Jones said. 

During King's  famous 'I Have a Dream' speech, he said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” 

"Still, to this day, we're re-branding," panel speaker Marcus LeGrand said. "We're fighting for the haves and have-nots."

A poster at the Latino Community Association asked people to consider this question: "What is the dream for Central Oregon?" 

"My dream for Central Oregon is to become as inclusive  as it can be," RJ&E Youth Liaison Trey Gibson said. "That's focusing on accessibility -- people who are disabled. That comes with understanding of being a person of color in an area that is 94, 95% Caucasian, white." On the poster, someone wrote, "My dream is for people to out differences aside and focus on the common goals."  

Miller-Jones said, "I think my dream is what's happening here today. It's the various cultural communities and communities of faith coming together to both celebrate our unity and to commit and re-double our efforts to reach true equity."

Another panel speaker, Kenny Adams, said, "When you look around this room and the people in this room are actually wanting to make a difference. They want to hear, they want to learn. They want to educate themselves, not rely on other people to educate them. But they actually want to take the steps to do better. I think ultimately, one part of his message is do better." 

People were also given an opportunity to draw a Dream Square for a quilt.

Loretta Brown shared what she thinks the world should look like.

"This," she said. I asked her what she drew. She said it was a picture of her family.

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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.

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