FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Change is coming. Those are the words of several Fort Wayne leaders who believe the nation is getting one step closer to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream.
Activist and Allen County Parks and Recreation Board Member Sean Johnson was one of the hundreds that gathered in downtown Fort Wayne to protest the death of George Floyd.
Johnson was one of the protesters that was arrested and charged for resisting law enforcement, and a few months later was given an additional charge of refusal to leave an emergency area. He says the protest changed his life in ways he couldn’t imagine.
“It’s been stressful but bless-full, I’ll say that,” Johnson said. “I got really involved with the community, really involved with the NAACP and the MLK club. I just didn’t want our efforts to go unnoticed and unheard so I just wanted to channel that energy into something politically.”
Since the protest, Johnson has started a new role in the county parks department and found a new appreciation for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“The thing he spoke about, his teaching, it’s going to live on forever, and on a day like today it just makes me happy to be a Black American,” Johnson said.
Newly appointed Fort Wayne NAACP President Larry Gist agrees that King would have endorsed the Black Lives Matter movement.
“The dream is still there,” Gist said. “It’s up to us to keep hope alive. It’s going to be a struggle because injustice and discrimination is still there. But we are going to get there one day. How long? Not long.”
Due to COVID-19 the NAACP and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Club changed the way they celebrated the holiday. Unlike last year the club’s Unity Day Celebration was moved from the Grand Wayne Center to the Concordia Theological Seminary.
Instead of speakers and vendors the group sponsored a Unified Basketball Alliance tournament that was held over MLK Day weekend.