For me, it was a wonderful opportunity to reminisce his dream for a just and equal society and being reminded about our personal responsibility to keep his vision alive. It was also time to reflect on this country’s turbulent history and be thankful for the sacrifices made by MLK and other visionary civil rights’ leaders. In large part, Latinos and women owe their freedom directly to the sacrifices made by civil rights activists, who fought tooth and nail to secure our basic civil liberties. Because of their blood, sweat and tears, we inherited a more egalitarian society. I feel grateful for their tremendous contribution to society and opening the doors of equality for us all.
At AARP this month, we are commemorating MLK’s legacy with a special webpage loaded with videos, interviews and tributes to Dr. King and the heroes of the civil rights movement. It also features inspiring essays by AARP’s leadership, an exclusive interview with the president and CEO of The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and MLK Jr.’s son, Martin Luther King III.
America has made significant progress since the turbulent 60’s, yet we still face many human rights challenges today. For example, we still need to fight against poverty, educational gaps, and discrimination against seniors and minorities. I invite all of you to become more civically engaged; by effecting positive change in our communities, we honor the legacy of Dr. King, Jr.
Change is possible and no obstacle is insurmountable. To add some context around the enormity of Dr King’s contribution, I would like to share an amazing quote from the chairman of the Nobel committee during the 1964 Nobel Peace Price award presentation speech:
“Here he lived in a society where a sharp barrier existed between Negroes and whites. Worse still, the black community in Montgomery was itself divided, its leaders at loggerheads and the rank and file paralyzed by the passivity of its educated members. As a result of their apathy, few of them were engaged in the work of improving the status of the Negro. The great majority were indifferent; those who had something to lose were afraid of forfeiting the little they had achieved.”
View a video of the famous MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Read an interview with Martin Luther King III talking about his father.
Check this amazing slideshow with images of the civil rights movement.
Learn more about MLK’s newly dedicated memorial on the National Mall.
Photo Credit: AARP.org