While today may seem like a buffer day before the oncoming onslaught of finals, it is important to remember the man for whom the holiday is named, and why we observe it in the first place. Martin Luther King Jr., the leader of the American Civil Rights Movement, fought for equal rights and the end of segregation. His charismatic speeches, nonviolent protests and boycotts led the way against racial discrimination. However, racial inequality and systematic injustice are not just problems of the past. What Dr. King preached and protested about is still relevant to today, perhaps more than ever. Our country is divided and at odds with each other. People of color are still facing the throes of racism, poverty and discrimination. Police brutality, unjust mass incarceration and gentrification are modern forms of institutionalized racism. There is still progress to be made. Although it is not the 1950s and the textbook racism of the civil rights era is not as apparent, King’s preaches and acts of protest remind us that we can always strive to do and be better. It is not enough that segregation no longer exists; it is not enough that the Jim Crow laws were abolished; it will never be enough until people of color are not targeted for their skin, murdered, wrongly incarcerated and discriminated against. So on this MLK day, let us continue and build upon his dream of freedom and equality because in this bashing political and societal climate, we could use some hope.
Please check out our past articles celebrating black history and diversity: