Martin Luther King Day
Today we honor a historic and pivotal figure of our nation. Martin Luther King Jr. Every year we honor the man who fought for the civil rights many of us take for granted today. But this year MLK day takes on a different meaning for us-a feeling of slim optimism.
We have come a long way from the 1960s and while civil rights have vastly improved we still have a considerable way to go. This is apparent in the Black Lives Matter movement, the focus on revamping the criminal justice system, rampant Voter ID suppression within the South, the Flint Water crisis, the Dakota Access Pipeline and countless other incidences. As a nation we have repeatedly fallen short in ensuring the children of this nation will not be judged by the color of their skin. They still are.
Eight years ago people had tears of joy in their eyes as we elected our first black President. Regardless how you feel about his policies you cannot deny the abhorrent amount of racism and disrespect shown towards him and his family. Several people had no shame to say they couldn’t stand having a black man as their president or callously comparing our gracious first lady to an ape.
Eight years ago we believed we had achieved monumental progress yet after this election cycle it seems progress has been hindered. It is devastating to know our soon to be President has repeatedly made ignorant remarks about different races, nominated people for his cabinet who are known to be racist or unwilling to fight for equality and then there are the people who elected him in. Not all who voted for him are racist but they didn’t feel his racist remarks were detrimentally impacting others. Put simply they did not care about the racism others face.
For some the message of Make America Great Again is to blatantly disregard the hard work of slaves and immigrants who have helped to make America what it is today. Which is why on this particular MLK day we feel slight optimism. We foresee a tough battle ahead in the fight for equal rights for everyone. But we can learn so much from Mr. King such as his patience, his resilience and his continued motivation to fight for what is right. It is to him we should learn from when we face our own political battles.
We hope today you not only honored the man who fought for the civil rights and freedoms you currently enjoy; we hope you realize the fight for equality isn’t over yet and there is much work needed to be done. And so we hope you are ready to get to work.