Dr. King is, in all practicality, everyone’s hero. His message was to the nation, not just to African Americans, nor was it a message geared against people of other races. His message is one that continuously touches the lives of everyone; a reminder of those who lived in our past, those who live today and those who will come after us. In this respect, Dr. King had the characteristics of a prophet – knowing well ahead of time that issues of race and social injustices will follow from one generation to the next.
Dr. King’s message is one of hope, a transcending message that says we can rise above, we can go beyond the limits of, we can triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects of, we can overcome the despairing realities of injustice that continue to exist in our society today.
A prominent issue that plagues our nation today is what happened in Newtown, Conn. It is hard to fathom and something must be done to change this outright injustice against the innocent across our nation. The mass killing of our young children is beyond comprehension. Yet, this shooting is a copycat, hideous, cruel act added to the list of several others over the past few years. Perhaps now we are no longer desensitized to the problem with assault weapons and our national consciousness has awakened. What is it that Dr. King would say if he were present today? The following segment was taken from a speech by Dr. King when he accepted the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Margaret Sanger Award:
“There is no human circumstance more tragic than the persisting existence of a harmful condition for which a remedy is readily available…In our struggle for equality we were confronted with the reality that many millions of people were essentially ignorant of our conditions or refused to face unpleasant truths. The hard-core bigot was merely one of our adversaries. The millions who were blind to our plight had to be compelled to face the social evil their indifference permitted to flourish…We knew that there were solutions and that the majority of the nation were ready for them. Yet we also knew that the existence of solutions would not automatically operate to alter conditions. We had to organize, not only arguments, but people in the millions for action. Finally we had to be prepared to accept all the consequences involved in dramatizing our grievances in the unique style we had devised.”
Dr. King’s transcending message talks about the persistence of a harmful condition for which a remedy is readily available. His message at the time was about racial inequalities that existed and still persist in America, and in many places, still largely ignored.
Dr. King has paved the way for all of us to become transcenders of social injustice. Let us remember Dr. King’s message of hope for our nation. It is time that we come together as a united nation against the social maladies of our time.
I invite you to join in this year’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., on Jan. 24 at Kent State University. Visit www.kent.edu/mlkevents for more information.