Martin Luther King Jr. would be 92 this week. He was 39 when he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee for his leadership in the Civil Rights movement.
In the 53 years since his death, one would hope we have taken steps, made some progress, toward achieving his goal expressed in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech — “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…”
Over the years, certainly some progress has been made, but in the past few years we have seen much backsliding in the area of racial equality. This past year, the outrage of the Black community over the continued killing of unarmed Black suspects by police boiled over in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd. Those protesting that “Black Lives Matter” have been branded as anti-social terrorists. White supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, in the meantime, have been emboldened by the out-going president’s call to “stop the steal” of his unsuccessful re-election. Some participated in the attempted takeover of the U.S. Capitol this month.
If we want to start moving forward again, we can start by recalling Dr. King’s message and his dream, to treat each other with respect as human beings, to judge each other by our actions and our merits, not by our skin color or by our political persuasion. We can start doing that today, in memory of Dr. King, as our country heads toward a new administration.