Minorities hope for greater race relations in President's second term

7:46 PM, Jan 21, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn - For many, today marked the convergence of a hope and a dream, only the second time in our country's history that the presidential inauguration intersected with Martin Luther King Junior Day. Today, President Obama was sworn in with Dr. King's Bible.

For many, it's a dream realized on the day of an inauguration and commemoration.

"I really do feel this president is for all people," said Golden Thyme Coffee & Café owner Michael Wright.

"People's patience may be a little thin and they are wanting more, but I think in due time with passing of health care which was huge, no president has passed health care, that helps me as a small business owner be able to afford health care that was a huge issue."

But Wright says conversations in his café on Selby Avenue in St. Paul still center around civil rights struggles and a lack of change.

"In the second term Barack Obama needs to deal with the African American struggles. He's definitely one of the best American presidents but that speaks very little for the poor and African American community," said customer Jermaine Alexander, a paralegal from Brooklyn Center, who supports Obama.

Unity for all races was the resounding theme at the MLK celebration at nearby Central High School.

"If he can dream of freedom for his people, why can't we?" said Mary Favorite, member of the White Earth Anishinaabe Indian reservation, whose late husband was honored with a humanitarian award at the commemoration.

The President's speech was received with a standing ovation in the auditorium, but for some the vision falls short of what Dr. King fought for.

"I hope to see better results for Afro American people, minority people. I hope to see more people doing better at the lower part of the scale," said Mwata Ross, part of the organization Men of M.A.R.C.H., a group inspiring young men. "President Barack Obama is just one person. We need more than Barack Obama. We need more people to help and get behind him, such a long fight and struggle, we need more people involved in the fight."

For Michael Wright, that's how the march goes on, one conversation at a time.

"We all have to do our part," he said.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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