SUNY Plattsburgh MLK observance aims to 'keep the dream alive'

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) Americans from coast to coast gathered Monday to keep Dr. Martin Luther King's dream alive, including an event that drew hundreds to SUNY Plattsburgh.

The Plattsburgh community gathered to reflect on the past, present and future. Community leaders spoke about Dr. King junior and the legacy he left behind.

"The world seems more divided in my short period of time here, but I hold close the ideals that we do have much more in common than what divides us," said Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Michael Cashman.

"Dr. Martin Luther King talked about a beloved community as a group of actors committed to reignite the social justice fire of the community and that's what we're here to do today," said Michelle Cromwell, SUNY Plattsburgh's diversity officer.

Song filled the Newman Canter with reminders of the struggles Americans have dealt with and the the fight for civil rights.

"Can we be honest? This is what he worked for but what he also died for," Cromwell said.

Speeches on a divided community that speaker Amelia Steven said can still be seen today. "People are so worried about themselves that they do not stop to think about injustices that people face in their everyday life," she said.

And pledges to promote justice, love and peace in the community. "Civil rights looks at the rule of law, legal rights and what is based on legal definitions, but human rights on the other hand is rooted in this universal belief that all human beings are equal," Cromwell said.

Members of the community who fight to spread Dr. King's message everyday were honored. The community choir received a New York state citation recognizing their work and Dr. Dexter Criss, a SUNY Plattsburgh chemistry professor, was awarded a state and federal citation on the work he does uplifting others.

"He has helped each and every one of us in various ways and his music has uplifted and touched the hearts of many. This man that we speak of, Dexter Lee Criss, is the dream that Martin Luther King envisioned," said Criss's grandaughter.

At the end of the ceremony came a call for action for the community to work together and fight to keep the dream alive.