January 19, 2015

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we remember the contributions of one of the most well-known, well-regarded, and cherished civil rights leaders in American history, let us reflect on the principles and values for which he stood.

Black, brown, and other peoples of color were not included in the Constitution of the United States. To date, this founding document has not been amended to embrace the dignity and humanity of non-white persons.

How, then, can this nation move forward to ask new and interesting questions about the progress of its citizens as the malignancy of racial injustice metastasizes.

Does the present state of race in America signal a failure on the part of Dr. King? No. Does it indicate that the civil rights leaders of the 60s have failed blacks in America? No. Does it suggest that 20th century activists did not risk all for freedom? No.

What it means is that the perilous march to freedom is an arduous process against a system of oppression that continually renews itself on the resources and spilled blood of the downtrodden.

It means that the sacrifices of yesterday produced a force inclusive of highly-educated, socially conscious, and determined activists who have a strong legacy from which to draw strength, courage, and examples of adaptability for today's challenges.

It means we must build upon rather than dismantle our legacy of audacity in the face of insurmountable odds and brace for what vestiges of injustice may lurk in our future.

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