It seems fitting today to write about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who improved the landscape of the United States through his efforts, his battle, for equal rights, civil liberties, human rights, freedom. He fought this battle with grace, dignity, love, and peace. He was a man among men. Without a doubt, he is one of history’s greatest examples of leadership, of a change-maker.
He is honored with a national holiday, countless street names, scholarships. He has dozens, if not hundreds, of outstanding quotes attributed to him. And nobody would dare suggest he may not be deserving, because, well, he is! He was not just a powerful orator, or charismatic, or clever. He was devoted. He was so devoted to his cause that he gave his life, all while standing for peace.
One can certainly assume he did not wage this war for fame or esteem. In fact, while segments of the population loved and admired him, certain other segments despised and rejected him. He was a threat and he was hope. All for a dream of what this country could be. A vision, I dare say, we have yet to achieve. Yet, he accomplished much. And with gratitude for his accomplishments and for the methods with which he fought, we celebrate this great man today.
And my thoughts turn to the current tragedy of human rights both here and around the globe, and I consider that Dr. King would be appalled. Certainly he would be dismayed that race relations are at a new low in American history, and certainly he would continue to urge peace. But I think he would be absolutely horrified that slavery has crept back in. And that under the cover of darkness, it has become acceptable to turn a blind eye to it. To ignore what happens, what we have allowed to go on merely because we don’t know what to do. To that he would say, “if you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl.” Oh wait. He did.
He led the charge. He held the battle flag high. He called the troops together, but he did not do it all alone. He needed others to be inspired –to pick up their own pens, put on their own boots, to be the voice of the voiceless.
Now, it’s 2017, and we are in the same position. New enemy. Same issue. Equal rights. Basic human liberties. An end to slavery. Freedom for all. Yes there are abolitionists. Yes, some have begun to be the voice for the new voiceless. Some are trumpeting the battle cry, but it is far too few.
We await the next Dr. King. Who will lead the charge? Who will give all? Who will devote themselves, rally the troops, inspire, lead us into victory over slavery and human trafficking? Maybe, you can’t see yourself leading something like that, but I dare say, he didn’t start off thinking he would be the face of the civil rights movement either. Do you know what he did? Something. He starting moving forward and each day he continued moving forward each and every day… until the civil rights movement was a movement with momentum all its own. And as his life was taken for the cause, and as tragic as that was, it did not end the movement. The movement lived on.
So let’s get moving. Put one foot in front of the other with me every day. Every day, do something. Until it’s a movement with momentum all its own. Together we can end modern day slavery and human trafficking.