While there will be fewer commuters on the road on Monday, Jan. 20 because we will be celebrating the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr., the truth is that we celebrate him every other day of the year too.
I oftentimes think about all that King would have accomplished had he not been taken away from us on that fateful day in 1968. I also think about all that he did achieve in spite of leaving us before he was 40 years old. At the same time, it is beautiful that his message, his dream, still rings loudly today; it saddens me that we have so much more work to do.
It seems strange that civil rights are not as omnipresent as the air that we breathe. It’s difficult to fathom that in the year 2020, individuals still endure discrimination and hateful actions because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, or other attributes they identify with.
Every day we hear news of hate and discrimination, or we witness or experience them ourselves. The problem is not big. The problem is all-pervading. It’s overwhelming.
It can feel like it’s just too much of an ugly giant to slay. But remember David? We can sling our stones each time we encounter a wrongdoing. More than that, we can also sling our stones at “non-doings,” and fill the gaps so we can proactively support the protection of rights and freedoms.
We can serve as witnesses, serve on jury duty, support change at work and in our communities, and more. If each of us takes a stand to help one individual, improve one situation, our reach can be expansive.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Powerful words in the 60’s and just as powerfully needed today.
We can’t all be as magnificent as Martin Luther King Jr., but we can each make a difference somehow. If we all take a stance, a promise, that we will keep King’s dream alive and real, one action at a time, we can be the light that drives out the darkness and the love that drives out the hate.
Written and submitted by Amy Randall-McSorley for The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.