Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Today being Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, celebrations of Dr. King’s life and message are being held throughout the United States. For some today is merely a holiday where many businesses and government offices are closed; for many, it is a day to remember a man who strived for equality and peace among all races everywhere. Still, questions remain today as to the progress we have made towards these goals and the lasting impact of Dr. King’s words.

For many, Dr. King is best remembered for his “I have a dream” speech, setting forth a vision of equality and peace for all. According to historians however, many Americans only know “that this guy had a dream” without actually “know[ing] what that dream was.” For some, Dr. King’s speech was all about equality among races, forgetting the fact that he was also attempting to combat poverty and bring anti-war issues to the forefront of people’s minds.

Today, approximately forty years after his death, the messages of Dr. King remain valid concerns and unfulfilled dreams. As for equality among races, one of Dr. King’s dreams was to have an African American be elected President – a dream that could be answered in the form of Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Still, according to CBS News, “blacks in America are disproportionately represented in the ranks of the poor, in the prison population, in single-parent families.” Such disproportionate representation signifies that the equality Dr. King dreamt of has not yet been achieved.

As for Dr. King’s message of peace, it surely seems that there is work to be done. As the nation continues its war in the Middle East, the statistics on crime within the country are disconcerting.

It is good today to remember Dr. King’s messages and think about equality and peace. However, if a majority of people only think about these issues once a year, it is unlikely that anything will be resolved. There are hardworking people in all walks of life of all races that in fact attack these issues on a regular basis in an attempt to find a potential solution. However without more constant support by others, including those in the government, their job will be made more arduous than it perhaps needs to be.

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