Center Honors Legacy Of Martin Luther King Jr.

SPOKANE – On Monday, many people will take time out of their day to remember Martin Luther King Jr., but one center in Spokane lives under Dr. King’s vision everyday.

On Sunday, the Holy Temple Church of God held the first of many events to honor Dr. King. Members from the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center were at the service, and they are happy to see Dr. King Honored in such a way.

The center helps people in need and spreads the vision of Dr. King, but due to recent budget constraints, the center is struggling to stay afloat.

Executive Director Joe O’Neil’s been on the job since October and it did not take long for him to embrace the center’s message from the man who’s name adorns the building.

“For us, it’s simple. Equal opportunity and treatment for all,” O’Neil said.

Since the 1970’s, the outreach center has helped low-income families with education and leadership under the leadership of Dr. King’s message.

“In that struggle, it was about breaking down barriers so African-Americans had equal rights, O’Neil said. “It was more than that. It was people from all walks of life that should be treated equally no matter where you’re from.”

As with many non-profit organizations, funding is always an issue. The center’s programs are largely funded by the state, but in 2005, its funding was slashed and many things were changed. 

For instance, pre-schoolers can only go to the center for three hours everyday because of a state mandate. 

“They’re low income parents. Moms and dads are working. They have to struggle to pay for child care,” O’Neil said. “The long-term goal is to expand.  Whether we expand from this facility or look to partner with another agency.”

No matter what happens, the words and vision of Martin Luther King Jr. will never be never far away.

On Monday, the center will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day by letting children from the center attend a march through downtown.