Northern Kentucky NACCP president says nation needs to look back and learn the lessons taught by Dr. Martin Luther King

01/15/2018 04:14 PM

NEWPORT – Fifty years after his death, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was remembered on Monday in Northern Kentucky at the 14th Annual Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. Community Luncheon hosted by the Northern Kentucky Branch of the NAACP in Newport.

The day featured singing and music, reflections on the life of the civil rights leader, as well as a look at how Americans today can apply the teachings of Dr. King to make a better country.

NAACP Northern Kentucky Branch President Jerome Bowles says that this year’s theme, “Building a New Movement for a New Generation” is symbolic because it’s a direct reflection on what Dr. King’s plan was over fifty years ago.

“The focus is on revisiting the blueprint that Dr. King established during his era, however, revisiting the blueprint, as we go forward,” Bowles said. “Applying that blueprint to the issues that we have today and come up constructive solutions and initiatives to work together to overcome any kind of issues that we have in our community.”

Bowles said that one of the challenges that exist in the country today is making sure that the school kids are taught about the contributions Dr. King made to the civil rights movement and not have that memory fade away with time.

“As I visit many schools throughout the region, I ask questions to students about Dr. King,” Bowles said. “They know his name, but it’s up to educators to continue to focus on making sure that that name becomes embedded, and the work that he has done in his particular era is not lost.”

Bowles also expressed concerns about Gov. Matt Bevin’s announcement on Friday of the approval of the new 1115 Medicaid waiver program, Kentucky HEALTH.

The approval of the Medicaid work requirement makes Kentucky the first in the nation to apply work requirements to Medicaid recipients. Nine other states have applied for similar waivers.

Bowles wants the General Assembly to work together and find a workable solution to not only Medicaid, but potential cuts to things like education to fund the public pensions.

“We’re in tight times in our state and we have to make some bold and courageous decisions, but those bold and courageous decisions should not deal with dividing individuals, it should not deal with limiting the access to healthcare, it should not limit access to education for our youth,” Bowles said.

There is also concern that some of the people potentially hurt by the new Medicaid requirements are persons who are actually working in low paying jobs which offer no health insurance.

“Individuals who are struggling economically, don’t necessarily want to be struggling, they want to find areas to help improve their life,” Bowles said. “Just because somebody is under served at a certain socioeconomic status, doesn’t mean we should start to dismantle programs and services that could cause people to improve themselves.”

President Donald Trump made headlines last week after making disparaging comments about Haiti and some African nations.

Bowles believes that Americans as a whole needs to step up and condemn such comments.

“We need more voices and we need many voices to combat any kind of offensive language, any kind of issue that’s going to hamper the progress of our nation,” Bowles said. “We have to set high standards of morality, of character; we’ve got to have strong values and integrity.”

The guest speaker for the event was Eric H. Kearney, President/CEO Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce.


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