Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday. Many often think of Martin Luther King Day as a time to reflect on the past. Video clips of Dr. King’s speeches, marches and life are shown while parades and prayer breakfasts are held. The holiday is often viewed as a day for service. When I reflect on Dr. King’s holiday, I see it as a time to go back to the future. I see it as a day to recommit, rededicate and reclaim the dream of Dr. King for the future. I see it as a time to work tirelessly towards achieving Dr. King’s dream of social justice, economic justice, racial equality and human rights for all.
As we watch the 2016 presidential campaigns, we are reminded almost every day by the comments of the Republican political candidates that we must continue to fight for the realization and actualization of Dr. King’s dream. When I read comments of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia that African Americans are inferior intellectually, I know we have a long way to go to achieve equality in this country. We cannot sit idly by as persons in the U. S., particularly those in power and those seeking the highest office in the U.S. spew hatred towards Muslims, Hispanics, Blacks and the less fortunate. There is plenty of opportunity to continue the fight for Dr. King’s dream. And working on it one day every year will not get the results.
We cannot change our ugly past of racial hatred. We can work towards ensuring that the gains achieved by the Civil Rights Movement through Dr. King’s legacy are not turned backwards. And we must work to increase those gains. We must all commit to work every day towards making this country a land where we all can proudly say “ My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty…From every mountain side, let freedom ring.”
In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “our lives become to end the day we become silent about things that matter. And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.”
We must all take a position to end the ills in this country and advance the dream closer to reality. And we must take a position every day.
Happy Birthday Dr. King!