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MLK Jr. Celebrations In Milwaukee: Is the Dream Alive Here?

Milwaukee is one of two cities in the country that has celebrated the Doctor Martin Luther King Junior Day holiday every year since 1984.

MLK Day is a day of service to give back and reflect on the legacy of Dr. King.

More than 50 years after that iconic "I Have A Dream" speech people that we spoke with say his dream isn't a reality here in Milwaukee but they say they're hopeful that work is being done to change that. 

"We want peace. We want equality. We want security and safety on our streets; these are things we all want and for some reason we've allowed boundaries and borders to stop us from realizing that," said Dee McCollum, director of the King Center in Milwaukee. 


 That iconic "I have a dream speech" still resonates today but people we spoke with say much more could be done to expand Doctor King's vision in Milwaukee.

"I think he'd honestly be disappointed, we still live in a situation where we're extremely segregated. Milwaukee is one of the top ten segregated places in country," said Milwaukee resident Verona Swanigan. 

Last month, we showed you a UWM study that finds that 70% of black kids in the city attend hyper-segregated schools and black families make 56 percent less than whites .


"You have to start that process to make the change in the children. We wanna jump right into the problems we have now but those problems are gonna continue if we keep raising the children with the mentality that is already set," said McCollum. 

In another part of the speech King says we can never be satisfied until African Americans stop being the victims of police brutality, something State Rep. David Bowen says we're still seeing in 2016. 

"Our African American community has been through a lot. We need equal treatment with officers and use of force," said Bowen. 

But those we spoke with say there is hope.

"I see a lot of hope in Milwaukee. You've got to be willing to step in the mess, smell the mess, and clean it up. That's when things will start changing," said McCollum. 

McCollum says most adults could probably learn from the children at the King Center who choose love instead of hate. 

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