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Harrisonburg mayor reflects on MLK Day

Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 11:31 AM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Monday marks Martin Luther King Junior Day, and while some holiday events around the Valley had to be canceled due to snow, there were still some virtual events held by JMU and EMU to celebrate and learn about the legacy of Dr. King.

Harrisonburg Mayor Deanna Reed says the the holiday marks a day of reflection, service and love.

“I’m hoping that the city is reflecting and is able to serve however way that may be, but we’re honoring the man who basically gave his life for equality for all people,” she said.

Mayor Reed was the first African American woman elected to city council and to become mayor in Harrisonburg’s history. She says that while we’ve come a long way since the civil rights movement, we still have work to do on a national and local level.

“We’re a kind and compassionate city, but we have a lot of work to do and so we have to make sure that we’re being truthful and telling the truth about the wrong doings that were done not only as a nation but here in Harrisonburg,” she said.

Reed says that the work of Dr. King’s fight for equality can be seen in the Friendly City where there is a diverse community and a majority-minority city council.

“In order for us to continue to work together as a city we have to understand that we are a very diverse city and in order to provide opportunities and to hear the needs of our people in our community you have to have those voices at the table,” she said.

Reed has a background in education and has mentored young women of color for years, and she says that one of the most important lessons children can learn from Dr. King is to be comfortable in their own skin.

“The best thing that we can teach our children, and especially our children of color, is to stay true to who they are and to know who they are, that’s something that I always teach our children of color, you have to be proud of who you are,” she said.

Reed says on MLK Day, citizens of all different backgrounds should remember what Dr. King fought for and to work together to make the city a better place for all.

“To continue his legacy of ensuring that we’re all working together, that we’re respecting each other, that we’re living as good neighbors for each other,” she said.

MLK Day is also a national day of service and Mayor Reed encourages all citizens to get involved with one of the many organizations working to make a difference in the community.

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