Worldwide- The late Rev. Dr. Marin Luther King was known most especially for his use of peaceful demonstrations, for acting with love, and for calmly stating any dissenting opinion. In his well-known words, “Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all…”
One glance at the US news and it’s not difficult to see that, if ever our country needed a non-political hero like Dr. King, it’s again now. So we ask, where is the remembrance of dearly departed Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, a man ahead of his time, walking the path of the Way of Peace in a culture that cannot fathom its desperate need for that?
The Rev Dr King being perhaps the most remembered civil rights activist of the 20th century in addition to being a Baptist pastor, it is more than fitting that we, as best we “virtually” can, gather together to remember this amazing human being. One hope had been that this remembrance events would not be “cancelled due to COVID.”
Thankfully, the annual Martin Luther King Day celebrations continued in Washington D.C. on January 18, 2021 in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. Like many other events during the COVID-19 outbreak, the organizers of these events moved many of them online.
MLK Holiday D.C. did hold the 40th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Parade on its YouTube channel. This year’s event includes Grand Marshals Giquita Smith, Charles Hicks, Justin Yaddiya Johnson, Ashley Kearney, and Raphael Bonnehomme.
Started in 1969, six years before Dr. Kings’s birthday became a federal holiday, the parade has become a bittersweet landmark event. Across the nation and the world, Dr. King’s life and legacy is commemorated by a day of service and promoted as “A Day On and Not a Day Off,” organizers said in a post on their website.
Coverage available online of various events honoring the Rev Dr. King includes parades in Knoxville, TN, Miami, FL, Los Angeles, CA, as well as other locations around the country which will, most likely, post to the internet later in the holiday weekend.
Although the Rev. Dr. King is most well known for his “I Have a Dream” message, his other legendary contributions include “What Is Your Life’s Blueprint?” a compelling encouragement to teens of the importance of self-esteem and self-love in addition to academic excellence he shared at Barrett Junior High School in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967. Anyone listening would be reminded of the importance of striving to be the best of whatever it is one chooses to be.
“Violence,” the quote from the late Rev Dr. King continues, “is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers…”
Sound familiar in regard to recent events in Washington DC?
“I have a dream,” Dr. King shared in his historic speech at the Mall around the Washington Monument on August 28, 1963 , “that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood… I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…”
Yes, sir, we share this dream with you. We long for the result of Isaiah 40:4-5: “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain…” And we long for that time in our county which you propose in your closing statement: “…and when freedom rings- when it freely rings- from every village, from every hamlet, and from every state, and from every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
As we remember Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King especially this weekend with honor and respect, let us ask ourselves this question, “How are we each living out a life blueprint that can help make this dream a reality?”