A revered minister and one of the most gifted orators of his era, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was a giant of his day. The slain civil rights leader was taken too soon but his message of dignity, hope and understanding resonates still today.
His fight for equality led him from prison cells to the White House, championing the cause of an underrepresented and oppressed minority and using media to publicize what most people of that time would rather have not seen on a national stage, much less admit to the atrocities regularly visited on people who just wanted to be treated as equals, given the same opportunities to succeed and pursue happiness.
That fight led to a fateful balcony in April of 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. There, Dr. King was struck in the neck by James Earl Ray and forcibly removed from the struggle we still face today.
We celebrate this icon for his grace under pressure, his willingness to serve and his unyielding conviction to see a nation at its greatest. We stand with him and echo his words from his much lauded speech at the march on Washington:
"Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
On this solemn occasion, as America is once again going through another period of transition, we look to this catalyst of change as we prepare to spark our own. We think of Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Terrence Crutcher and an unfortunate growing list of slain black people across this great country, a greatness which still needs desperately to be showcased in its full capacity, to all of its citizens.
Thank you Dr. King.