MLK Day 2016

ML King Day 2016

By Siegrid Raible

Today, January 18, 2016, we celebrate the life of an individual who campaigned for civil rights, world peace and social and economic justice – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  In 1983 the United States Congress passed a bill signed by Ronald Reagan which designated the third Monday of January as a new federal holiday celebrating the life of a great reformer.

How different is our twenty-first century from his era?  The challenges we face – the continued enlargement of civil rights including the immigrant as well as the citizen; the end to the myriad wars that engulf North Africa, the Middle and Near East; and, the end to violence perpetrated by both the state against its citizens and individually, against one another – are as monumental as the ones Dr. King faced in the nineteen fifties and sixties.

Dr. King championed the downtrodden, those without a voice.  He was a gadfly to the established political order. He led marches and sit-ins bringing to light the inequities of politics as usual.  He sought to end the war in Vietnam and he sought to put an end to poverty.   With the first caucus two weeks away we are in the midst of a presidential contest for who will be the next leader of the United States.  To listen to the candidates of the both the Republican and Democratic parties the debate is too often about who is to blame for the present state of affairs and not enough about how to find common ground to resolve these difficult issues.

Dr. King was aware that the fabric of a peaceful community is woven when its citizens, local and global, (1) are included in the decision-making processes, (2) are given the opportunity to earn a living wage, (3) are provided with a free education and (4) are assured justice will be meted out equally.

Let us honor the man and work towards the day when the dream becomes a reality.

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