USA: Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 and became arguably the American Civil Rights Movement's most prominent advocate and speaker.  In the United States, he is honored by a national holiday, observed the third Monday in January of each year.  Today, many bloggers in the United States are honoring his memory with dedicated posts, linking his legacy of social justice with issues of today, demonstrating that 42 years after King's assassination, his words are just as relevant.

The Color Line is a blog focused on the sociology of race, ethnicity, and immigration in the United States.  Blogger C.N. asks how close we are to fulfilling Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream:

Many Americans thought that Barack Obama’s election was the culmination of Dr. King’s dream and concrete proof that we have evolved into a “post-racial,” colorblind society. Unfortunately, as I and many other sociologists and commentators have argued, even in this past year, we have seen numerous incidents that illustrate just how prevalent racial distinctions and racism still are in American society.

Following the discussion of numerous examples of racial issues in the United States, the blogger concludes:

Ultimately, the best way for us to work toward achieving the ultimate colorblind ideal is to recognize, accept, and understand that racial distinctions still matter and that they are still the basis for continuing discrimination and inequality in American society today. Only by doing so will we move forward on achieving Dr. King’s final ideal — true racial equality.

Global Voices’ own Lova Rakotomalala, who is from Madagascar but resides in the United States, wrote a post entitled “Lesson from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Madagascar,” in which he said (in reference to the events in Madagascar last year):

Leadership matters. Real leaders give speeches and then walk the talk, in front of the line.
Leaders do not vanish in a sheltered place when they know things are about to get dangerous and let protesters walk in harm's way to serve their agenda.

The only thing we know for sure about what really happened in Madagascar a year ago is that we could have used a Dr. King back then.

US-based blog Immigration Impact drew parallels between the civil rights movement of the 1960s and immigration today, writing:

Now, more than ever, it’s important to remember Dr. King’s message that all men are created equal—not just for Hispanics and African Americans, but for all people who come to this country in search of the American Dream.

The blogger behind Preventing Homelessness reminds us that honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. means service:

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A day for all of us to work to improve lives, bridge social barriers, and move our nation closer to the “Beloved Community” that Dr. King envisioned. Today is a day of service, but we don't have to stop there. We can resolve to make this a year of service and make a real difference in our community!

And last but not least, the anti-racist blog Racism Review leaves us with a thought about heeding King's lessons:

This Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I hope and pray we will learn the lessons Dr. King taught us. Regardless of what the majority of people say, progressive American rhetoric remains miles ahead of its deeds (see King’s brilliant sermon “Paul’s Letter to American Christians”) and gradualism is not the answer. Only collective action, creative and sustained civil disobedience, and mobilization of people of color and poor–for whom cooptation and/or cessation are not viable options—are the only potential means for achieving and sustaining real and systemic change.

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