On the third Monday of each January, we celebrate the birth and achievements of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This man is celebrated for his heroic efforts to end racial segregation and bring about equality during the 1950’s and 1960’s. One of his most noted efforts is a speech entitled I Have a Dream. Today, let’s talk about how his dream for people to do better continues to be relevant today, in celebration of MLK Day.
What was Dr. King Jr.’s dream?
In his “I Have a Dream” speech, MLK stated that he had a dream that his “four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” As one of the most quoted lines of that particular speech, it touches on the heart of what he was fighting for—equality, no matter what.
Dr. King firmly believed that people should be judged on the basis of what they stand for and who they are. He understood the value of seeing a person for who they are on the inside, and that the appearance of a person should be inconsequential. To this day, his words continue to move people everywhere to do better as human beings.
How did MLK get his message across?
Instead of force, Dr. King chose to use his gifts as a skilled leader and orator to encourage non-violent protests. His vision for civil disobedience recognized the sanctity of life, the importance of productive discourse, and embodied peace itself.
MLK used his words to reach hearts all across the globe, and because he shared a message that contained truth, wisdom, and love, his speeches and acts truly resonated with people. Because of his ability to speak from the heart, and therefore truly touch people, he was able to become one of the most influential forces in ending segregation and went on to win a Nobel Prize.
Why were the methods used by Dr. King so effective?
He spoke from the heart. He saw a way of being that was unacceptable and took action in a way that encouraged love, acceptance, kindness, and empathy.
In an interview with Robert Penn Warren in 1964, King said, “I think, first, one must understand what I’m talking about and what I’m trying to do when I say ‘love’ and that the love ethic must be at the center of this struggle.”
But he also made sure that everyone was aware of what was happening in a way that shined a bright light on the atrocities being committed. He put the hate and fear on display, and then told us how to do better. He used love and authenticity to teach, and those genuine words reached the ears, hearts, and minds of those who also wanted to see the world become a better place for everyone.
Why is MLK’s message relevant today?
For so many out there, Dr. King’s words continue to resonate because we recognize the massive need to do better. The systemic, internalized racism that he fought so hard against is still present today. We continue to see reports of people of color being treated unfairly and unjustly by other human beings on every level, from personal to governmental.
Even though the Reverend King was most active in the 1950’s and 1960’s, our society still needs to heed his words. We’re 70+ years older, and in that time we have made some improvements—but until each and every person, regardless of the color of their skin, is treated the same as the next person, his message of equality should continue to be spread far and wide.
What is your dream to do better?
For me, it’s simple: To help people move toward, and embrace, radiant living. I speak, teach, counsel, and offer therapy straight from my soul. I recognize the pain that people experience from grief, help shine a light on it, and then teach them how to move through it in healthy ways.
And I will continue to share the message of love and equality that Dr. King wanted the world to know.
How will you take the spirit of MLK with you into your everyday life?
Love all around, above, below, to the left and to the right, before you and behind you,