Otis Sanford: City grants are a good way to honor Dr. King’s legacy

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Observances for next year`s 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King`s assassination are well into the planning stage across Memphis.

Educational institutions, community groups and houses of faith are looking to mark the tragic event that changed history, so it`s understandable that local leaders want to support efforts that foster a positive, long term difference in the city.

Mayor Jim Strickland and the City Council announced details of a $100,000 grant program to help qualifying groups sponsor initiatives and events honoring Dr. King`s legacy. The grants are for $10,000 each and designed to help spark change in various areas including poverty, economic development, community empowerment and nonviolence.

It is an appropriate use of taxpayer money in a city where Dr. King died fighting for justice against racism and on behalf of the poor.

And I shouldn`t have to say this, but I will. All applicants interested in grant money should be committed to working well beyond the April 4th anniversary to make our city better because poverty is an ongoing and multifaceted struggle that cannot be effectively addressed with $10,000 and one event. And nonviolence in a city with a reputation for violence requires continuous input from everyone.

All that said, it is good that the city is remembering the King legacy by giving worthy initiatives a jump start.