This article was published on January 18th, 2021
“The time is always right to do what is right.”Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s vision for unity and brotherhood reverberates in today’s complex world and is more relevant than ever before. In 2021, the mission remains to be motivated by the inspiring words from this iconic civil rights hero.
Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, MKL Day is to be celebrated primarily through physical distancing, with individuals advised to honor his legacy virtually and behind masks if at outside locations. No matter, there is cause for reflection for the father of the civil rights movement, less than two weeks since the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the symbols of racial terror that raged through the hallways. The democratic process that King so long fought for hung in the balance as a segment of the population attempted to strip voting rights, the very cornerstone to equality. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 transformed America when it was signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson, and on the third Monday of January, Dr. King’s advocacy for the law is celebrated. Assassinated at the age of 39 in Memphis, Tennessee, the Nobel Peace Prize winner would have been 92 years old had he lived.
The Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol trying to overturn the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris by an overwhelmingly white mob that had been egged on by the lame duck president was more than anti-democratic. It was a wake-up call for more Americans to engage in the democratic process and remember the efforts of Dr. King and other civil rights leaders of the era.
“And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! Free at last!/Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’
The dream Dr. King imagined involved everyone having a seat at the table and work for equity across the board. The legacy of his service continues to resonate, woven into the layered history of the United States.