Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for racial equality, justice, and peace for all persons through powerful non-violent marches and civil disobedience.
As a result of Dr. King’s work and that of his supporters, Congress eventually passed legislation making it illegal to discriminate based on race in the hiring process and ended segregation.
Dr. King inspired many to take action and to “act on civil rights,” but has the inspiration been lost?
Today there are more and more stories shared in news outlets and social media of people being treated unfairly because of their skin color, gender, religious beliefs, to name a few.
“For me especially in today’s climate, when there’s still so many inequalities that exist, even despite some of the current legislation that’s passed for marriage equality, it’s still relevant in the sense that it’s a reminder we still have a long way to go,” said Psychology Professor Dr. Jennifer Allen about her meaning of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“Everything he did and said would go completely against what people are doing now,” said Psychology Major Shetria Voth. “You don’t have freedom to be different,” said Voth.
MLK Day should be a day to analyze oneself in making sure that as a citizen of the United States, one is taking positive action for civil rights by respecting others and listening to their side of issues.
Engineering Major Andy Czeropski said the country should be able to rise up as one while accepting the cultural upbringings including religious beliefs of all people.
The problem society is encountering is that people want their religion, gender, and voice to be respected but are not willing to give it in return. It’s a two way street.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day of revolution that symbolizes how far we’ve come said Devona Johnson, diversified studies major.
“I have black children and I have a son. My son’s only 5 but I’m still scared for him,” said Johnson. Johnson said society has come a long way but there have been many setbacks.
“There’s still a lot of the racial profiling, people want to say it doesn’t exist, and I think you have to have those hard conversations. If he were here, my perspective would be, he would be the one pushing those conversations,” said Dr. Jennifer Allen.
Let Monday, January 18 be a day to honor Martin Luther King Jr, a day to recognize the problems that still need to be addressed in society, and as a reminder to continue treating others equally.
According to thekingcenter.org, Dr. King was the youngest to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and his “I Have a Dream” speech is one of “the most revered orations.”
For more information about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his work you may visit thekingcenter.org.