OUR VIEW: Remembering the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Published 10:30 am Saturday, January 15, 2022

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Monday celebrates the life of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and the equitable world he stood for. The holiday is a chance to recognize King’s dream, but more importantly it’s a chance to reflect on what he wanted for our country, and to consider the progress we’ve made and how far we still have to go.

A lot of the issues King advocated for in his lifetime are unfortunately still problems we face today — racial justice, economic equality and labor rights.

The holiday is a chance to consider how we overcome our differences to work together to make our community and world a better place to live. Racial equity is far from the only issue we face as a country, but it’s definitely one that we’ve yet to overcome.

How do we get people who look differently to talk to one another? Why do we, as Americans, typically interact with people who look like us? That’s not always the case, of course, but in general it’s true. Even in places of worship, we unfortunately tend to be divided by race. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we smiled at more strangers, and in turn, made those folks acquaintances, comrades and friends?

How can we become better listeners so that we can hear one another, realizing we might have different points of view due to different upbringings? After all, most of our opinions are directly related to our own experiences.

What will it take for us to overcome all of our biases, especially concerning race, and to make this a more welcoming and less divided country?

If you think about children, there are no boundaries when it comes to playing with others. You’ll often see black children and white children running around playing chase at the playground. There are no boundaries.

Life at that age is just so simple. Why can’t we keep it that way? 

We’ve certainly made progress as a country on all of these fronts, but it often feels like we take one step forward and then two steps back.

MLK Day is a day off work for some, and a day out of school for students. But it’s way more than that. It’s a chance to remember the way MLK lived his life and to consider volunteering and finding something you feel strongly about — something you can advocate for.  Be an advocate. Be the change that makes our country a better place to live.