Monday, January 19, 2015

Dr. King's Legacy In A Ferguson Era

Today we celebrate the birthday as well as the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a man that worked until his last breath to fight for justice for ALL of humanity. He once said that "Injustice any where is a threat to justice everywhere." The greatest part of his legacy in my opinion is that he didn't just give a lot of good speeches, but he was also a man of action. He basically "walked the walk." I often wonder what he would say about today's instances of injustice...namely the recent cases of police brutality and the subsequent protests. Dr. King would've undoubtedly spoken out for non-violence. Would he have been extremely upset-YES. But instead of encouraging more violence it is almost certain that he would have called for peaceful protests. Look no further than his "I Have a Dream Speech." The following excerpt from that speech serves as a prophetic and moral voice for reason in light of recent violent protests:

"Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone." -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August, 1963

I only hope that those considering violence as a means of protest today would turn their frustrations into something productive as Dr. King did. Where would we be if everyone that broke a window or threw something at the police would've made up in their minds to mentor a young man who would be considered "at risk?' What if instead of burning down stores, these young folks all decided to find a way to become a lawyer? Martin Luther King, Jr. was not a perfect man, but he was a great orator, activist, husband, and a father who lived everyday with the hope of making this world a better place. He didn't just dream about it, but he also rolled up his sleeves and did something about it. I personally believe that he achieved his goal. It might not look like it when you read the news headlines today, but many people, including myself, are better off because he fulfilled his calling. I personally admire his determination to fight for what is right by not stooping to hateful means. His methods were strategically peaceful which eventually brought about the actual changing of laws. He pointed us all towards the Love of God as the only source of hope and true unity. There is much more work to be done but it can only be done when men of all backgrounds are united through unconditional love and true service. Dr. King's vision for a United America all depends on the choices you and I make in our individual lives each day.