Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy

Today, as we reflect on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s life, legacy, and mission, I issue a challenge to those more focused on pulling together a hollow statement than pursuing lasting change. Will you join me to take action and create intentions on how to live up Dr. King’s ideals, not just today, but the other 364 days of the year?

Every year we watch politicians put out statements in remembrance of Dr. King, while they work against his ideals every day. Dr. King has been consistently white-washed and de-radicalized in the collective consciousness of our country.

It’s a common refrain that folks say they would have marched alongside Dr. King, which is a commendable statement to make. But the fact is we need them marching and fighting with us now. MLK Day is more than any speech or march, it is a day to recommit ourselves to the struggle for equality.

Some talk about how far we have come since Dr. King climbed the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech. To which I respond: look around and tell me exactly how far we are from that painful time of open racism and bigotry in our history. Just last week, domestic terrorists stormed the Capitol in the name of the white supremacist in chief who seeks to overthrow an election because black and brown voters were finally able to have their voice heard.

Those privileged to serve the nation in our highest chambers on both sides of the aisle should be motivated by Dr. King’s words and actions. Yet, 147 Republicans voted to overturn the results of a Democratic election in a violent attempt to prop up the scourge of white supremacy that is still running rampant in our country. To act in such direct opposition to truth and justice should disqualify anyone from holding elected office.

Friends, I hope you’re having a meaningful and contemplative today. Here in New York and across the country, millions of folks are fighting for the kind of equality that Dr. King preached. I know we will prevail and move towards Dr. King’s dreams.

Peace and blessings,

Jumaane D. Williams

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