“We commemorate Dr. King’s inspiring words, because his voice and his vision filled a great void in our nation, and answered our collective longing to become a country that truly lived by its noblest principles. Yet, Dr. King knew that it wasn’t enough just to talk the talk, that he had to walk the walk for his words to be credible. And so we commemorate on this holiday the man of action, who put his life on the line for freedom and justice every day, the man who braved threats and jail and beatings and who ultimately paid the highest price to make democracy a reality for all Americans.”
-Coretta Scott King
I think about these words while looking at my life today and there’s a sense of peace that comes with it. Some days I can be harsh on today’s generations. There is a lot I feel we need to fix, and sometimes I get bogged down into believing we are going in the wrong direction.
Yet today, I look at our society in light of the past, and I feel a strong belief that we as people can make great leaps for the sake of humanity to create a culture that’s better than before.
Try as I might, I can’t truly comprehend what life was like during the time MLK gave the speech that would mark history and its books for generations to come. Yes, I have witnessed racism. Yes, I have experienced sexism. Yet to live in a world where this was an everyday norm believed by the majority of society feels… terrifying and incomprehensible.
Every day I go to work in an office that is the poster child of American diversity. I work beside a group of people that are female and male, African American, Native American, Korean, Honduran, Polish, etc. We are a blend of backgrounds and sexes and even orientations that are colorblind to each other.
We don’t see race, we see people; unique, talented people who together collaborate to create amazing, never-before-seen things that change the way people live and work.
It’s pretty amazing;
and we have no idea.
It doesn’t cross our minds how “new” our perspective is or how far this world’s come. This environment is our norm and a good portion of us are too young to know any different. We see today’s battle with racial profiling and scorn it as inhumane and intolerable when such things used to happen daily, on a much more brutal and public scale.
We still have a long way to go. Slavery still exists within our country. So does rape culture. But today is a reminder that these things are within our control and that we as people are wise enough to know that we have the power to change; to grow; to make great leaps for the sake of one another and the right to be equal.
Coretta Scott King says it best,
“[Today] is a day of interracial and intercultural cooperation and sharing. No other day of the year brings so many peoples from different cultural backgrounds together in such a vibrant spirit of brother and sisterhood. Whether you are African-American, Hispanic or Native American, whether you are Caucasian or Asian-American, you are part of the great dream Martin Luther King, Jr. had for America. This is not a black holiday; it is a peoples’ holiday. And it is the young people of all races and religions who hold the keys to the fulfillment of his dream.”
Take a moment today and ask yourself, what are you standing for? And remember that there’s power in one man or woman who takes a stand and says, “No more.” to create a movement that can change our world.