In my humble opinion, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was the greatest American that has ever lived. This year, on April 4, we observed the 50th anniversary of the assassination of this great leader. Most of the population of the United States is not old enough to remember him while he was alive. But his legacy and impact continue to affect our everyday lives. 50 years have come and gone, and we still face some of the same issues today. We even have our new leadership with the idea we should go back to the way things were 100 years ago. I do believe Dr. King left us instructions on how we can still work to everyone having a better tomorrow.
First, Dr. King promoted love. He promoted love of one’s self. It is impossible for you to express love for others if you don’t have love for yourself. For hundreds of years, people of color in our society were taught they were less than human because of their color. People were taught they were less than because of their class and their family’s status. People were forced to believe they only had the right to sit at the back of the bus or had no right to learn to read and write. People of color were expected to live on the other side of the tracks by the dump or sewage plant. If people of color had low self esteem, then they would accept being less than and would continue to have a second-class citizen mindset.
Next, Dr. King taught love for one another even our enemies. Dr. King was able to see some good in everyone, even those who work against us. One of Dr. King’s sermons teaches us to love our enemies. He said: “Discover the good in your enemy and as you seek to hate him, find the center of goodness and place your attention there and you will take a new attitude.” When we can love our enemies, we will not meet them with violence.
Finally, Dr. King was able to instill in us that everyone has worth and potential. I believe this is what made him great. He taught us we all had the right to have a seat at the table and make decisions about the future. We all can choose to make a positive influence on society. It does not matter how you were brought up, your age, sex or race. We can all make a difference and can change the trajectory of our lives in a positive way. It does start by us all having a fair chance to do better. We should all have a fair chance at home ownership, earning a livable wage, getting a high quality public education and living in a clean safe and sustainable society. Show your love for your family and community by taking your seat at the table and exercise your right to vote in these next elections.
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