Every January growing up, right as we went back to school, we were given a Monday off to honor the great Dr. Martin Luther King. It was a day devoted to Sunday night sleepovers (which never happened in our household on school nights) and sleeping in late. During college it was devoted to a long weekend preparing for rush and sorority pledge week. Flash forward 10 years and working a full time job - and it is barely considered a holiday. It made me question why we have this holiday. Why is it printed on every calendar yet all I was really taught about the man was the fact that he gave a speech with the infamous words “I have a dream”.
This man is a hero. Dr. King is among the greats in American history, standing next to Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. He prompted a transformation in the lives of Americans across the nation and we should still strive to move towards that dream of his. This day should not be overlooked or seem unimportant. In fact, I would argue that we need to place more of an emphasis on the Civil Rights Movement when we educate the young minds of our nation.
How much do you know about the great Dr. Martin Luther King? Do you know that he was a blessed communicator being a Baptist preacher? Did you know that he didn’t really want to be the center of attention when it came to the Civil Rights Movement? However, he had the motivational gifts that this world so desperately needed at that time.
As I read editorial posts about today’s significance - they all speak of how great Dr. Martin Luther King was and exactly what we are commemorating. Things like: we commemorate his values and his vision that spread through a nation, we honor the life of one of the greatest champions of racial justice and equality… the list goes on. But what about the impact he is still having today? What about the impact this one man has had on my life - a 20-something young professional white female from the state of Arkansas? That is his real legacy.
I have gone back and watched the speech on YouTube. What a speech, the older I get the more I respect his words and the more they really mean. I know I must have studied it in grade school and read through it - but as I become a functioning member of society his words truly carry so much more weight.
Take these words for instance:
“Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.”
The definition of justice is “a genuine respect for people.” As a devout Christian it makes me question - do I have a genuine respect of all people? Do I fight for respect in the work place, in the community, in the home? Not just based on race - but based on all facets of equality. Do you?
Dr. King’s speech - yes was meant directly for the Civil Rights Movement for equality for the African-Americans in this nation; but we can still learn from his ingenuity and wisdom today.
Today should make us stop and think. Think about the way you treat people today. Do you let the elderly sit down first? Do you speak with kindness and empathy? This is not a day where we should forget that. Today is a day where we should refocus our attention on treating people the way we want to be treated.
Let’s help keep his legacy alive. As Young Republicans - we should desire to create a culture of nonviolent equality for all people. Today let’s remember this dream.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Arkansas Young Republicans or the Young Republicans Federation. Assumptions made within the post are not reflective of the position of any Arkansas Young Republicans or the Young Republicans Federation.