MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (PIX11) — He had a dream. But is that dream being realized?
A special Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service tribute in Mount Vernon tackled that question.
Mount Vernon residents watched the “I Have a Dream” speech that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered to 250,000 people during the March on Washington nearly 60 years ago.
Many said that they were thinking about how much progress has been made and how much more needs to be done.
“We have to look at the fact that so many of our rights as people of color, as women are being taken away, are being eroded,” Shawyn Patterson Howard, the mayor of Mount Vernon, told PIX11 News.
Howard knows how Mount Vernon has changed. Her grandfather, Edward H. Paterson Senior, was born in 1905 in Mount Vernon and was the first Black person to work in City Hall, first as a porter and then eventually rising to an auxiliary deputy sheriff.
She knows her grandfather would be so proud she is the mayor.
“The one thing he told us was we could be anything we wanted to be,” the mayor added.
Simone Mair, a native of Mount Vernon, co-founded Girly Curl Collective, a company created by Black women who saw a need. Those in attendance were given gift bags for self-care.
“The purpose is to create representation for folks who look like us in the beauty industry,” Mair said.
Many also felt it was so important to bring their children to this tribute.
“I would like to think we haven’t reached the pinnacle of the dream each day we strive, and we are always working towards it,” Erica Peterson, a mother of three, told PIX11 News.