Today, as we commemorate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. it’s important to remember, not only his words, but his deeds. Dr. King was driven by an intense belief in God, the “American Dream,” and the ability of humanity to transcend hate, prejudice, and fear.
Against overwhelming odds, Dr. King reminded us that “Faith is taking the first step when you don’t see the whole staircase” and that “The time is always right to do what is right.”
In the fight for civil and human rights, his words always matched his deeds – from refusing to ride a bus in Montgomery to walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. From boldly standing up to segregationist American politicians, to suffering imprisonment, and traveling across continents to learn the non-violent strategies of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King walked the talk!
In the more than 50 years since his death, some may find it easy to forget how vilified Dr. King was for pushing for equal rights, education, housing and employment opportunities for Black Americans. Some might also forget how many lives were risked and lost, in pursuit of the constitutional right to vote.
Fortunately, as the beneficiary of the efforts of Dr. King and countless others who came before me, I don’t have the luxury to forget. In fact, I have the privilege in my legislative capacity, to continue the work for a more just society by strengthening human, civil, and voting rights, and to seek to answer what Dr. King said was life’s most persistent and urgent question, ‘What are you doing for others?”
On this King Day, I hope we take time to reflect on that question and our answer as we continue to remember and uplift the legacy of Dr. King, “A Drum Major for Justice.”