Dr. Martin Luther King

Dr. Martin Luther KingDr. Martin Luther King was the moral and intellectual leader of the civil rights movement, and his life and beliefs have left a legacy of non-violent resistance to unjust laws, a voice for the weak and dispossessed, and a sense of the interrelatedness of all people.

As a nation we have come a long way, and I suspect that Dr. King would be proud of the progress made, but I suspect Dr. King would also be looking to see if today all people in this country indeed have equal access to justice and equal opportunities.

We are surely in need of Dr. King’s vision now to ensure that all are valued and all lives are treated with dignity and respect; to help each and every community come together with a shared sense of purpose; and to empower every member of every community to stand up for their beliefs without fear or intimidation.

In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. King wrote,
Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

I have been interested to watch our young people struggle with the issues of unity and respect not only in their own communities but also across the nation. Recently several of our students attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, and one student was inspired to write the following poem about the need to listen. I think Dr. King might approve:

Sometimes silence is all I long for,

An echoing, piercing, perfect silence.

Sometimes silence is louder,

Than broken windows and car alarms and riots.

Sometimes silence is louder,

Than men in suits arguing about issues they can’t even comprehend

Speaking for a mother broken in half.

Speaking about an unseen something,

Speaking with ears covered and mouths wide open

 

But sometimes the silence still lingers

When sound tears apart a nation.

Sometimes silence waits, for angry hearts to open

Sometimes silence sings when sisters and brothers soften,

To hold hands together and mourn the losses of young boys

To see discrimination but hear a frightened officer

To understand the unknowns of an unseen something,

To accept the silence, between a sister and a brother

To use a loss to teach and learn of love for one another.

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