Annual observance brings time to tout education.

The nation has made significant strides since the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, and the election of a black U.S. president was but one recent example of progress.

Still, much work remains.

Count ongoing struggles surrounding education as a challenge that demanded the attention of Martin Luther King, Jr., in his push for equality,

An excerpt from a writing by the civil rights leader addressing education included thoughts that remain relevant and debatable decades later:

"... The richest nation on Earth has never allocated enough resources to build sufficient schools, to compensate adequately its teachers, and to surround them with the prestige our work justifies. We squander funds on highways, on the frenetic pursuit of recreation, on the overabundance of overkill armament, but we pauperize education."

King knew education could be an equalizer. The observance of MLK, Jr., Day is a time to reflect on his courageous leadership and challenge to the nation to live up to the promise of liberty and justice for all.

An annual opportunity to spotlight education and its part in progress will come again Monday with Garden City Community College's Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.

Angela Ray, award winning speaker, actress and author, will be keynote speaker. The free program, which also will include poetry and music, is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday in the Dennis Perryman Athletic Complex main gym at GCCC.

Ray is considered a compelling speaker with an ability to engage and empower young people to succeed and embrace leadership opportunities.

Considered a powerful motivational speaker for high school and college students, Ray no doubt will address the value of education in society before her audience of students and others in the community.

Such messages warrant more attention at a time too many lawmakers would see fit to undermine funding for public schools as a way to savings.

Education was a cornerstone of King's dream. In leading the struggle for equal opportunity, the civil rights activist knew access to good education was instrumental.

Clearly, there's still much work to be done today in pursuing the ideals King embraced.