Submitted by: Unity in the Community
Last Monday was the birthday of the inspirational icon of the civil rights movement who led our nation and the Federal government to a new standard of equality and inclusion: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King’s purpose was to challenge our country to be a better place; one where every person is valued and respected.
Dr. King challenged us to overcome oppression and violence. He urged us to reject revenge, aggression, and retaliation. His vision that “no individual be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” set in motion changes that led to the passage of civil rights and voting laws. In honor and respect for his contributions to the improvement of our nation’s attitudes, policies, and laws, the Federal government celebrates Dr. King.
Over the years, there has been some speculation as to what Dr. King could have accomplished if his life had not been cut short so tragically. When we consider he was only 28 years old when he was elected the first President of the Southern Christian Leadership Council after already graduating from college at 19 and from Divinity school at 22, it is no wonder we question what progress we might have missed. By the time Dr. King was 29, he had published his first book, “Stride Toward Freedom.” In 1964, he gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech to 250,000 people who marched on Washington in support of pending civil rights legislation. In the same year, he was successful in getting the legislation passed and he won the Nobel Peace Prize. A lot of accomplishments for a man who was only 35 years old.
Dr. Martin Luther King believed in our country and its potential for greatness. He also believed that each one of us is essential in achieving that full potential. Although Dr. King’s primary efforts focused on equality for African-Americans, his ultimate goal was the equality and inclusion of every individual. As Dr. King said“There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society, with a large segment of people in that society who feel that they have no stake in it; who feel that they have nothing to lose. People who have a stake in their society protect that society. But when they don’t have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it.”
Showing “Unity” as countrymen and women and as US citizens, is the best was we can honor our society and not destroy Dr. King’s dream.