Special day observed with pride in Portsmouth
Guests including State Rep. Jean Leniol Jeudy, from left, Simon Thomson of Sen. Kelly Ayotte's office, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., raise their hands as bells ring at the 32nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Community Celebration at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Manchester on Monday. Shaheen also spoke at a commemoration in Portsmouth. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
But it has been 25 years since Nate Holloway and a small group of Portsmouth area residents started the Seacoast Martin Luther King Jr. Day Coalition and breakfast event.
"Since my childhood where I witnessed segregation firsthand, the principle that discrimination has no place in our country has stayed close to my heart," Shaheen said.
But, she said, she also understands that the nation has yet to fully achieve King's dream.
The recognition of MLK, Jr. Day in New Hampshire did not come without a fight and was more than 20 years in the making, with Portsmouth Assistant Mayor and former representative Jim Splaine introducing the first legislation.
United States Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-NH, also spoke at the event.
"Each year we do need that moment, that pause, to remember why, what the history was," Shea-Porter said.
She said the nation still has problems, but the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day should be a reminder to look to the politics of hope and reason instead of to the politics of despair.
"I think we need to think of him not as icon, but an inspiration," Smith said.
Nate Holloway was unable to speak during Monday's event, but his granddaughter, Courtney Harrison, read remarks on his behalf.
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