One of the effects of living life outside the United States is forgetting dates. We undoubtedly forget Veteran’s Day, Flag Day, Presidents’ Day, and a slew of other “holidays” of marginal importance. Today is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day back home; let us make sure we do not forget it. If there is one US leader to hold in our minds today and everyday it is this man.
Not all is well 41 years after his death. If we listen close we hear that the deep south of the United States continues to swelter in racial oppression and injustice. The unwritten race war that continues to grip New Orleans is incredibly similar to the Mississippi Dr. King described to all of us over 40 years ago. It seems little has changed.
However we have hope. As cliché as it sounds, that is what we are grasping onto with the last ounce of our strength. Let us take the feeling of hope that sits in all of us right now, while it burns strongest and use it to change the world. Dr. King wanted change and when he stood to fight the injustice that poured down on all of us he was assassinated.
Let us all remember to take a few moments and think about how far we have come. We will not celebrate MLK Day here, but it will do us well not to forget today either. While we weigh Dr. King’s work and legacy in our hearts today, tomorrow we will measure it with an exactitude never thought possible. Tomorrow Barack Obama will be inaugurated as the newest President of the United States.
Dr. King your dream to see “… that all men are created equal,” has not been realized, but tomorrow we will see a barrier thought to be unbreakable shattered before our eyes. Not because of some idyllic prophecy or a fluke in our political system, but because of the hope your legacy left to all of us.
He believed that deeply embodied in the civil rights fight was a person’s right to be whom and what he was. As there is no doubt that King would have continued to fight racism there is plenty of room to fight the injustices bestowed upon us by the myriad of all of our differences. In November a single barrier was broken, but we must continue his fight, not for his legacy, but for our future.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Presente!