As a leader during the modern American Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. accomplished more toward racial equality in his 13 years of leadership than had happened over the previous 350 years, according to The Martin Luther King Jr. Center. His nonviolent movement was inspired in part by his Christian faith and the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. While others saw violence as a way to be heard, King used peaceful protests to bring attention to poverty, international conflicts, and equality. There is a wealth of information on King’s amazing social accomplishments on the website www.thekingcenter.org.
Years from now, when we look back at 2011, many will probably remember it for the Occupy Movement and the Arab Spring. As we look forward to 2012, many are probably curious to see if the protests of 2011 were a beginning or an end. As we observe another MLK Day, I wonder: If Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive today, what causes would he be behind? No doubt, he would take up the mantle of health, poverty and education all around the world, beginning with leadership in the U.S. As we launch this election year, we can think of how to both fuel our economy at home and consider global issues which impact all of us. If we have a vision for ending poverty, educating all people and promoting the best talents and abilities within each and every person we’ll have a world which is ready to embrace the frontiers of space, the limitless opportunity of science, the life-sustaining force of new energy sources and the capacity to understand and appreciate our hearts and those of others we necessarily like or understand.
Martin Luther King left us with passionate, timeless, and lingering words that we can still have force in 2012:
- “Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which makes philanthropy necessary.”
- “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issues. It seeks to dramatized the issues so that it can no longer be ignored.”
- “The curse of poverty has no justification in our age.”
Many observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by doing something charitable. Many also look forward to the three-day weekend it allows. No matter how you’ve spent MLK Day in the past, consider making this one different. Take a few moments to look back at this influential man and ask, what can we still learn from him today? Can remembering MLK’s words help you make a decision in the presidential elections and/or the choices before you in your personal and professional life?