Friday, April 4, 2008

Remembering Dr. King and his message  

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One of the most important figures in American history. The ultimate pioneer for equality. With his dedication and conviction to his cause, he laid the foundation for every American who chooses to fight for equality and justice. It was on this day, April 4th, forty years ago, that Dr. King was assassinated by James Earl Ray, setting the entire nation into mourning. But even though Dr. King was taken from us so prematurely, the impact he had on our country will undoubtedly live on forever. He has inspired us and urged us to pick up where he left off; to continue his fight until the day when his "dream" is achieved. features an article today about how far we have come in achieving that dream. Reverend Jesse Jackson, another civil rights pioneer, acknowledged that we have taken important steps as a nation, but there is still an enormous amount of progress to be made. However, he uses the current election as promising evidence that America is making significant improvements:

Jackson says the candidacies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton show that the country is less reactionary when it comes to race and gender."I see the seeds [King] sowed bearing fruit today," Jackson says. "The massive white vote for Barack; he is the conduit through which the newer, better America is expressing itself."

The "newer, better America" is true. However, a dangerous aspect of our nation today is the fact that people are giving up. According to a poll on, 24% of people think that Dr. King's dream is a full reality. It's wonderful that people are acknowledging the positive changes in America, but it is crucial that we do not lose touch with reality. Apathy is a cancer that can quickly and uncontrollably spread throughout an entire country until it destroys it. We must realize that though we have progressed, we still have battles to fight and struggles to overcome. Racism and sexism are still prominent in our country and inequalities still plague us. It is this time especially that we must remember Dr. King's words from his famous "I Have a Dream" speech:

"We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."

Now is the time. Now is always the time. Don't let Dr. King's message die. He was murdered forty years ago, but his passion still lives on within us. The most important thing to remember is that Dr. King wasn't a god or a superhero. He was a regular person, just like all of us. And all of us have the capacity to do what he did. Dr. King knew he wasn't going to live forever, and so he dedicated his life to inspiring all of us that we can still continue his fight long after he is gone. The time is Now.

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