Elmont reflects on MLK


After the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the eruption of protests nationwide following the killing of George Floyd during the summer of 2020, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of equality for Black Americans is carried on in 2022 by local activists and community leaders in Elmont.

Sarah Campbell, co-founder of Elmont Strong, a community-focused nonprofit, said that King’s message is what drove those who attended the 2021 MLK Day walk organized by the group.
“Everyone wanted to bring light, in light of 2020,” Campbell said, referring to the protests of that year.

Campbell stressed, however, that the 2021 walk and Elmont Strong’s mission is less rooted in politics and more rooted in philosophy – a philosophy that is stepped in the message of Dr. King. “We always try to do good by the community regardless of party,” Campbell said.

Since last year, Elmont Strong has worked to “cultivate a voice for the community” by hosting events for the community and pushing for residents to start businesses and projects for Elmont. “This is lighting a fire in our community,” Campbell said.

Events planned by Elmont Strong, such as a ‘chalk the walk’ event at Elmont Road Park in 2020 that was based around the Black Lives Matter movement, work to “not only improve our community, but to take initiative in creating our own narratives and perceptions of our amazing Elmont,” a statement on the organization’s website reads.

Although the 2022 MLK Day event planned by Elmont Strong was cancelled due to rising Covid-19 cases among Elmont’s students, the group used the day to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy and message.

Campbell said the nationwide protests of 2020 and 2021 have made a lasting impact: although the community in Elmont and communities across the United States have moved on from day-to-day activism, there is a long-lasting sense that the civil rights movement is not finished and that more work is required to realize King’s dream, Campbell said.

“He dedicated his life to unifying people of all backgrounds and actualizing his dream of a nation where people thrived together in spite of their differences,” said New York State Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages in a tweet on MLK Day on Jan. 17.

“As we continue the tradition of celebrating the life of Dr. King, we must remember that his work is far from finished,” Solages added.

In a tweet on the same day, New York State Senator Anna Kaplan called on King’s message as a guide for our era. “We're living through times that have been indelibly marked by darkness & hate,” she said. “Let's all recommit ourselves to being a source of light & love in this world against the dark forces that seek to divide us & do us harm.”