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January 15, 2014

Step up for equality: MLK event in New Albany evokes action

NA-FC Schools, Teacher Association event highlights unfinished work in civil rights movement

NEW ALBANY — It’s not over and it may never be, but Gloria Murray said involvement is simple as a little forward movement.

Murray, the dean of the School of Education at Indiana University Southeast, was the keynote speaker for the 19th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Dinner on Tuesday. At the event — held by the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. and the district’s Teachers Association at Northside Christian Church — she said even though King helped the movement along more than 50 years ago, there’s still plenty of work to complete.

“Some people might wonder, do we need another speech about the civil rights movement? The answer is yes, definitely yes,” Murray said. “If you did not know this, public speaking has always been a powerful tool in the civil rights movement. It’s always been a powerful tool in forming of this country.”Murray said there are still battles for people all over the country and the world to make sure they’re all on equal footing with their peers. But to effect that change, good citizens need to take a first step at making it happen.

“The good citizen on the civil rights journey understands that everything hangs on the first step,” Murray said. “It is not enough to know, you have to begin. Some people are unable to take the first step because of action anxiety. Anxiety can freeze you, so you refuse to act.”

She said that anxiety is often caused by negative fantasies or overthinking consequences. But she said consequences are also present when nothing is done.

She pointed out the United States Supreme Court’s ruling on a key component of the Shelby County v. Holder case last summer. In the voting rights act of 1965, Section 5 requires states and local governments with histories of discrimination to seek approval of voting law changes at the federal level.

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Amy Harpenau is the new director of theater arts at New Albany High School. Harpenau is a 2007 graduate of Floyd Central High School, has appeared on stage at both high schools and worked in theaters since she graduated college.

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