On this day which our nation has set aside to recognize civil rights leader, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., there are those who revere his work and are inspired by his enduring legacy. They will pay tribute on his holiday and will honor him every day in their words and deeds by fighting injustice and working towards fulfilling America’s promise of equality for all.
“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.”
There are also those who will pay political lip service to the Nobel Peace Prize winner by quoting his visionary words at every public opportunity to show the courage of their convictions is on the right side of history, when their actions have demonstrated they lack the courage to do right.
“Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles; Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances. Courage breeds creativity: Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it. Cowardice asks the question, is it safe? Expediency asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience ask the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but on must take it because it is right.”
Then there are those who will dare to honor America’s greatest civil right icon today, who have spent the time since his last holiday a year ago enacting state laws and signing executive orders to limit or prohibit students from learning about the very man of which they speak – to dimminish or erase Dr. King’s place in America. And too many people are letting them do it.
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
It’s foolish to look at the wrong, the censorship, the injustice, going on “over there” and believe “it won’t come here.” A nation is not a vacuum.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
If the MLK Holiday should do anything, it should call us to action, wherever, whenever, however we can, now is the time for action.
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
Together we must act against the growing rise of hate, nationalism, and injustice which threatens America and our freedom.
“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
The growing darkness in our nation today is profoundly frightening, but don’t forget times were equally frightening in Dr. King’s day. One has to believe the stars he spoke of are the people who come out in dark times of adversity to fight for freedom.