Today, January 18, 2021, we observe the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. A man that grew up in an era of racial prejudices and segregation and dedicated his life to freedom, equality, justice and love for all. When we look at the life of Dr. King, we see a man that was abused, talked about, threatened, lied upon, jailed, wronged, and ultimately murdered. Through all of these situations, he still remained a man that undeniably trusted God, stood up for what was right, and was a pioneer of the non-violent strategy.
In all of what he stood for, did you know that it was still a battle for this day to be recognized? Calls for this holiday began shortly after his assassination in 1968 but it wasn't until 1983 when congress passed legislation making his birthday a federal holiday. It would then take 32 years after it was first proposed for all 50 states to officially adopt MLK day in 2000. Amazingly enough, the issues of racial justice, economic equality, affordable housing, and labor rights are still on the dockets in Congress and are still being discussed in 2021 because we still can't get it right.
So what about the people or groups you want to put on a pedestal? Are these people, of good character, accepting responsibility for their actions, able to stand up after being knocked down, or humble? Looking at some of the people and groups people are defending in our world today makes me ask the question, what criteria are they using? Is that person someone that you can bring home to meet your family? Is this a person that you would allow your son or daughter to marry? Do you need to make up excuses for that person's actions or views? Is this person doing something that will promote good will for all? Is this person an example that you would put in front of your child to emulate? Is this person being ridiculed and judged because they are doing something in the best interest of everyone? Lastly, does this person seek any self gratification just to say look what I have done or are they doing because it is the right thing to do?
Dr. King is a hero, and much has been written about him in a positive light but we all know that he was not perfect. He was human just like we are and had faults just like us. Depending on who you ask, his major fault was the color of his skin, or maybe where he was born. Who knows, but the fact that he gave his life "being a servant with a heart full of grace and a soul full of love" are attributes in a leader and one I look up to. There are many more heroes that are not widely known that have these same attributes and I applaud their efforts as well.
So today, as we sit and honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, think about how you can be an outspoken person for people that might be looked down upon because of their social status, religion, race, gender, or creed. Think about how you can be a leader that looks to advocate fairness and equality on your job, in your home, and in the community. Lastly, what can you do to bring unity and not division amongst everyone. #SPEAK2MYHEART