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The Vision of Martin Luther King Jr. Should Resonate in Modern Society

Martin Luther King el hombre que cambió la historia afroamericana en EE.UU.  — Shorthand Social
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. giving his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. (Photo by Francis Miller//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

During the height of BLM demonstrations, I stated that the strength of this republic comes from the “continuing effort to assert every person deserves the same rights regardless of any identity.” If any person best embodies that sentiment, dedicated his life to that continuing struggle, it was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In the truest sense, he represented the lengthy endeavor to secure the basic human rights for every American, showing that bold legislation and challenges to the status quo can be enacted without the threat of violence or the propagation of polarization. His long-lasting legacy showcases that the promotion of peace and non-violence is far more powerful than the barrel of a gun or the end of a stick.

MLK Jr. left us a message that is largely relevant in today’s discussion on what defines America. At least in the media and political atmosphere, there are two prevailing notions of America. One states that America is defined by the fight to reaffirm the promise of equality the founding fathers laid out in the Declaration of Independence and later in the Constitution. It states that America is the ongoing story of how its citizens are attempting to reconcile for the sins of its past by standing against prejudice and implementing laws that ban discrimination.

The other prevailing notion is pushed forward by the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 project, which was written by Nikole Hannah-Jones in 2019. The project states that America was not founded on July 4, 1776, but in August 1619 when the first slave came to what is now known as America. This idea suggests that America is defined by the institution of slavery, and, despite any efforts, we cannot quell the present racism because, as President Obama stated, racism is “still part of our DNA that’s passed on.”

On this celebration of MLK, America must understand that he saw the Declaration of Independence as a beautiful document that outlined the individualized genius that every American should strive to uphold. He believed that America was defined by that monumental line stating that all men are created equal, which evidently set a framework for his famous dream. Essentially, MLK Jr. realized that America can unlock its full potential in technological advancement and revolutionary innovation when it secures the fundamental notion that we are all equal in the eyes of the law.

 ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by God, Creator, with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’

This is a dream. It’s a great dream.

“The first saying we notice in this dream is an amazing universalism. It doesn’t say, ‘some men’; it says ‘all men.’ It doesn’t say ‘all white men’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes black men. It does not say ‘all Gentiles’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes Jews. It doesn’t say ‘all Protestants’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes Catholics. It doesn’t even say ‘all theists and believers’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes humanists and agnostics.”

“Never before in the history of the world has a sociopolitical document expressed in such profound, eloquent, and unequivocal language the dignity and the worth of human personality. The American dream reminds us—and we should think about it anew on this Independence Day—that every man is an heir of the legacy of dignity and worth.”

– MLK giving a sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, on or near July 4 of 1965.

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

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