Local Martin Luther King Jr. Day events put spotlight on service, ending poverty


By Jason Hackett
7:29 PM, Jan 15, 2018

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – You’ve heard it said before – many people are just a few paychecks away from being homeless. If you think it can’t happen to you, consider Archie Matthews Jr.

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“I’ve been homeless 30 years,” he says. Sitting by the Intracoastal day after day, he worries that society has forgotten about him.

“‘Oh he’s homeless, he don’t mean nothing,’” Archie says. “I mean a lot, and everybody out here means a lot.”

It’s a message that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to get across. His work to curb poverty in the US is sometimes called his “forgotten dream.”

Dr. King’s ‘Poor People’s Campaign’ was a call to action, urging the government to strive for economic justice. An assassin’s bullet ended his life before that dream was fully realized.

Now, many are working to revive the campaign to help the poor, a campaign that crosses racial lines.

“Eradicating poverty and uplifting all humanity was something that was important to him,” Reverend Kevin Jones says.

The Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County held several service events around the county Monday. Much of that focus squarely on the poor and homeless, including a barbecue at Currie Park.

“All boats rise with the tide, and it’s our obligation to do whatever we can,” says Michael Hoffman, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach.

To some, it was just a plate of food and a can of soda, but for Archie it represented what society is capable of.

“I’m gald to see this out here…we need more of this,” Archie says.

It also represented a forgotten dream that may not be so forgotten after all.

“I’m very happy. And Martin Luther King is happy too.”