January 18th, 2021 marks the official day we celebrate, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr known as MLK Day. His legacy, however, stretches far beyond a single day. His activism and tenacity to never give up continues to impact our lives even to this day.
As we face a time of great uncertainty filled with division, violence, anger and discord, it is important we focus on Dr. King’s dream. He sought an America where not only African Americans, but those marginalized and oppressed could have equal rights. His pursuit to achieve this goal was through nonviolent measures.
Despite the injustices and indignities he faced, he never gave up on the country he called home. He never gave into the violence he faced, the lynchings, the beatings, the water hoses and verbal assaults. Instead he chose to face these situations in a way most of us would not choose; nonviolently. He faced them through boycotts, marches and sit-ins, to name a few. Never did he resort to violence.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” And that is how he lead millions of people as they pursued change in America.
Now more than ever, the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. resonates in the hearts of many as a new generation of activists find their voice, and the old remain emboldened by his legacy. Dr. King’s fight for justice paved the way for us to witness one of the largest social justice movements to date in June 2020 when Americans of all races, lead by his example, stood up for Black Lives Matter. That we, as African Americans matter no less. As Dr. King put so eloquently, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to just everywhere.”
It is only fitting that MLK Day fall during a time of transition in our government, but also during a time of suffering not just in America, but in our world. We should remember the intent of his message; the intent of the movement, seeking racial equality, economic justice and peace for the most marginalized and oppressed populations in the world.
And as we reflect on this day and Dr. King’s legacy we must not forget that we are all brothers and sisters joined together more by our similarities, rather than torn apart by our differences. We must come together now more than ever because, “the time is always right to do what is right.”
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