Monday, January 16, 2012
On this MLK Day 2012, I remember how much Martin Luther King, Jr.'s spirit and wisdom was a part of City Year's idealism. The communal space in the center of the office was the "MLK Space;" we talked of creating a "beloved community." We painted his portrait in school murals across Washington DC. One of our biggest service days was on MLK Day itself. City Year has a mission to make this a day for national service. In short, Martin Luther King, Jr. pervaded that year of my life in the greatest way.
Today I want to take a moment to commemorate the legacy of MLK, to ensure that his ideals were not just something I studied for a year, but values that I live every day of my life. His ideals were our greatest American ideals: liberty and justice for all. Peace and brotherhood. Hope and faith.
On this Martin Luther King, Jr. day, we must take a moment to pause from the cynicism, divisiveness and pettiness of our politics and remember that America is a great country because great men like MLK sacrificed their lives to make a more perfect Union. Let us honor that sacrifice today by reflecting on what we can do as individuals to make our country and our world a better place.
It os often customary, particularly on this day, to read the "I Have a Dream" speech. Of course I encourage you to do so. But perhaps you are ready for something a bit longer and even more challenging: MLK's Letter from a Birmingham Jail. I have just re-read it, and it is a stirring reminder of how deeply unjust our segregated country was, how far we have come as a nation, and yet how much further we still need to go to make our country the "beloved community" Dr. King dreamed of.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: today we honor you.