Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.
Observer Viewpoint | Tuesday, January 11, 2005
It is important that we acknowledge and celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr’s contribution not just on his holiday, but throughout each year. Many people take for granted what he has done to make our world significantly better. King yearned for everyone “not to be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” He was tired of the brutal beatings, hangings, mass murders and several other devastating practices that minorities endured because of their superficial appearance.
He dedicated his life to doing everything in his power to end racial injustices. During his lifetime, African Americans were thought of by many as a fraction of a person and were forced to attend schools that were poorly funded if they had any desire of obtaining an education. Also, European Americans severely limited the number of African Americans who were allowed to vote with clever methods such as a poll tax and a literary test where officials sometimes failed minorities even if they really passed.
King could have let his temper get the best of him and use excessive violence to counter the myriad of injustices. Instead, he used non-violent protests to help stop blatant acts of racism from taking place.
King was assassinated in 1968. Since then, blatant racism has dramatically decreased, but subtle racism is a part of our world today. African Americans make up 50 percent of jail inmates in America, yet they make up less than 15 percent of America’s population. Latinos are second in jail population. Many people are still being negatively judged prematurely because of their skin tone. That needs to stop now. Until it does, King’s dream will not be fully achieved.
God commands us to “love one another as yourself.” If we fulfill this commandment, we will also achieve the dream that King worked relentlessly to make a reality. On King’s holiday, I ask that you consider everything that he has done for us and celebrate him and his legacy while working to help the world truly realize his dream.
William David Williams