Dr. King’s impact cannot and must not be relegated to a single day nor to a single excerpt from one of his many brilliant speeches or writings.
So on this day after Martin Luther King Day, a commemoration which was fervently opposed for years before being signed into law in 1983, it’s important to re-dedicate ourselves to better integrating his work into our own so that we can better wage the fights of which he was apart, and which he led: The fight against poverty; the fight for equality; the fight against racism; the fight for justice.
As the writer Clint Smith implored yesterday, it’s wonderful and impactful that so many across the country once again engaged in acts of volunteerism on Dr. King’s day. But to be even truer to his teachings, we must do more: We must ask why people are experiencing poverty, and do all we can to change systems and structures to not only alleviate poverty, but to prevent poverty.
This extends from challenging racist admittance policies at local businesses, to challenging the latest federal efforts to undermine desegregation efforts.
I’d urge you to join me in revisiting his Letter from a Birmingham Jail–in written form, or this video read aloud by Columbus leaders as compiled by the Kirwan Institute. Dr. King’s message is alarmingly relevant no matter how much time passes from the moment he wrote it so many decades ago.
May we have much progress to celebrate toward reaching Dr. King’s dreams this time next year.