Rhetoric of racism and hate against some groups of people unfortunately seems to be more prevalent and emboldened these days across the United States.

That made the messages shared during local Martin Luther King Jr. Day events all the more important and hit home even harder.

Panelists said during a discussion about the progress Columbus has made in being a welcoming community that the community has taken significant, positive steps over the decades, although it still has a ways to go to overcome prejudices.

Just last year, two white supremacy groups tried to organize in Columbus. It was troubling to think that the groups thought opportunity existed in the community.

Brittany King, a speaker during the CommUNITY Breakfast Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr., encouraged residents to be more active in opposing prejudice.

“Americans need to come out of their comfort zone in dismantling prejudice,” said King, who organized the local, multiracial chapter of Black Lives Matter about 18 months ago.

Prejudice can rear its head in many ways, and social media is one common method nowadays. For example, King told of a local resident who mocked her black heritage on social media.

One of the things that speakers at a Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon panel at IUPUC spoke of was the need for greater understanding among people. Such progress starts with engagement and interaction, they said.

We agree on that, as we also do with the idea that people should be active in opposing prejudice.

The messages shared during local Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities struck a chord, and served as important and appropriate reminders in these times.

We hope the messages resonate and more strides can be made.