Hello again, dear readers. I am dropping by today to simply share some quotes and articles that I have found about the incredible man who this day of the year is named after.
As part of our school for the day, my mom had us listen to Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech “I have a Dream.” Although I have heard it before, it was deeply impactful and moving to hear it in its entirety. I cannot help but feel simultaneously incredibly inspired and insignificant. His words manage to bring to mind the change that has happened in the past six or so decades, while remaining heartbreakingly relevant to today.
The fight for justice that King helped to lead seems so long ago to me in a way, and so recent in historical terms. It makes me think, about the many things I will never fully understand about racial injustice and the things that I do know and completely understand. I know that being born into a largely white family in the twenty-first century, in New England, removes me in a physical sense from what the Civil Rights movement fought for, legal equality for people of color, black and brown Americans. I know that the fight for true equality and the end of police brutality is ongoing. I know that I will never understand what it feels like to be discriminated against because of the color of my skin. I know that as a human being I have a responsibility to always stand up for the equal rights of all people, black and brown and white, men and women, young and old.
I know that hating racism and all of it’s accompanying evils is not enough, I know that continuing to learn about the history of this country and the fact that much of it was literally built through the work of black enslaved peoples is not enough, but it is better than nothing. I may not be able to protest in person, or work for real change in a productive way at this stage of my life, but I also know that prayer and thought and education are a beginning and always better than nothing, if never completely enough.
I see the change that taken place since the ’60s when MLK was leading and speaking, and cannot help but appreciate it. I know that there is change that is desperately needed here and now, enormous change, but no longer are there physical signs on the doors of stores and restaurants that read “Whites Only” and no longer do signs at public parks and lakes and beaches say “Mexicans and Negroes Stay Out.” Children all of all colors attend schools together from pre-school through university. We have had a black First Family and will soon have a black Vice President. Change has happened, but there is still so much work to be done.
And with the end of my relatively messy ramble, here are the promised quotes and a couple of links/articles.
“I Have A Dream” – Martin Luther King Jr. (audio and transcript)
“Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” – MLK
My Father, Martin Luther King Jr., Had Another Dream |Martin Luther King III
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” – MLK
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” – MLK
“All we say to America is, ‘Be true to what you said on paper.’ If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn’t committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.” – MLK
“We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now because I’ve been to the mountaintop… I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.” – MLK