But even in the observance of King’s memory, the nation has traveled a slow and tepid path. While President Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, it wasn’t until 2000 that all 50 states officially observed it as a separate and distinct holiday.
And despite the electric atmosphere in the nation’s capital and the popular embrace of a modified Obama campaign mantra from “Yes we can” to “Yes we did,” Scoggins said there was much of King’s mission left to accomplish.
“We’re not there yet,” he said over the phone as he and his wife walked the National Mall. “We got a long way to go.”
Jason Wells hit the Glendale streets Sunday and asked five people:
"How do you think Barack Obama’s inauguration Tuesday affects the life and memory of Martin Luther King Jr., his quest and the holiday that commemorates it?"
“It was a dream, and now we get to live it.”
Catalina Sanchez, 25
“Everything he ever worked for, I think, has really paid off. I don’t think people understand how deep that is. It’s just too much for words, it really is.”
Joyce Librando, 18
“I think it gives people hope. To show that all men are created equal, and we are a nation that reflects that more and more.”
Iris Hidalgo, 32
“[Martin Luther King Jr.’s] dream, and with Obama’s inauguration, yeah, it’s realized. I think it’s a lesson that can also change politics throughout the globe.”
Paul Avion, 28
“I think it gives minorities, not only African Americans, more hope. And it gives them affirmation that it can happen, even 40 years later.”
Narine Yapundjian, 24
JASON WELLS covers City Hall. He may be reached at (818) 637-3235 or by e-mail at email@example.com.