Martin Luther King, Jr. Day serves to remind all Americans of the ability that motivated and determined individuals possess to resist injustice and influence profound, lasting changes in society. Dr. King led millions in taking the necessary actions and risks to address deeply embedded injustices in American culture and politics and thereby created a freer, safer and more just society for people at the time and for future generations. The success of the civil rights movement in confronting and significantly reducing institutional discrimination resulted from the dedicated and selfless effort of countless individuals from many different backgrounds and faiths. Dr. King’s ability to focus public attention on critical issues and motivate people to bravely and peaceably defy injustice proved critical in fostering those much-needed changes. His conviction and perseverance, along with that of the civil rights movement in general, helped America set an example of a country where people of all races and backgrounds can fearlessly pursue opportunities and exercise their freedoms.
The desire for a more tolerant and accepting nation unfortunately cost Dr. King his life. He and many others also served time in jail, endured social stigmatization and suffered through numerous other hardships for the sake of this essential cause. Please take time today to reflect on the sacrifices of Dr. King and many others who risked their freedom, and even their lives, to ensure that people of all backgrounds, races and creeds can enjoy the blessings and liberties that come with being an American!