60 years later, Omaha organizations still working to realize MLK’s dream

Leaders in Omaha’s Black community believe there’s still much more work to be done
NAACP Omaha leader Rev. Michael Williams believes Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream has still yet to be realized in areas of Omaha.
Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 3:30 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - On Aug. 28, 1963, around 250,000 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., seeking racial and social equity, jobs, and a way out of poverty.

Now, 60 years after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream,” speech, there are many people who believe that dream has yet to become reality.

Rev. Michael Williams is the leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Omaha chapter. He tells 6 News that groups are working together to make things better in Omaha’s African-American community.

“The challenge is that every generation has to fight the fight, and I think we haven’t fought it well, consistently, since Dr. King,” Williams said.

Williams says Dr. King wouldn’t be pleased to see the large pockets of poverty that still exist in Omaha’s minority communities.

There are a number of civic and church organizations that are working to make families whole and deal with unemployment issues in Omaha.

“I think that’s part of the answer,” Williams said. “Bringing folks with need together with people who can meet the need. Honestly, I don’t think the thing ultimately changes until people’s hearts change. That’s when the Lord comes in.”

Community leaders continue to hold voter summits to get more people registered to vote; something Williams believes should be more than a once-in-a-while occasion.

“That needs to be happening all the time,” Williams said. “We can’t just do it today and maybe get success and then think that it’s done. We have to keep doing it because unfortunately, there are individuals who don’t think African-Americans or people of color deserve to be equal and deserve equity in this society. It’s just a fact.

Williams says there are a number of groups that plan to bring healthcare professionals, food providers, and educational leaders together in late October to make clear where people in need can go to make their lives better.

Much of Omaha's Black community has yet to realize the dream that MLK spoke of 60 years ago, according to leaders.