“NOW IS THE TIME
for us to make real
the promises of democracy.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When my now-adult children were in elementary school, I began a tradition of pulling out my old CD’s of “Dr. King’s greatest sermons” and sitting with my children as we listened to his most famous speeches on MLK Day.
That experience not only increased my learning about Dr. King beyond his “I have a dream” speech but connected me deeply to Dr. King’s messages of moral values and his non-violent fight for equality, and social and racial justice.
As I think about today, the 93rd birthday of Dr. King, I could only imagine his thoughts about America’s progress towards the realization of his dream for America:
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ I have a dream that my 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.” – Dr. Martin Luther King.
I imagine Dr. King would be ecstatic by all the civil rights gains and progress towards his dream, as well as I imagine he would be in shock at the rise of voter suppression laws across the country, and the failure of a voter’s rights bill. Dr. King and others fought and died for me, and my children’s ability to vote, and the words from his “I have a dream speech” in 1963 — nearly 59 years ago — ring truer today more than ever.
“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.” – Dr. Martin Luther King.
Imagine these words spoken in 1963 at the heat of the civil rights movement. These words, spoken by Dr. King did more than call us to action. They inspired us to imagine an equitable society — to envision a just society where every human being is valued. It conveys that an equal society is synonymous with a path for racial justice that ensures equality for all races.
Dr. King’s speeches were prophetic, and the statement referenced above grows more relevant by the day. NOW is the time to act to preserve our democracy. NOW, when systemic racism continues to thwart progress and impede real opportunities for African Americans and communities of color. NOW when voter suppression and white supremacy is on the rise. Now, when abhorrent values and hatred are embodied in and exemplified by many of our elected officials at the highest levels of government. There is no time to waste.
In honor of Dr. King’s memory and legacy, I urge you to act now. Lend your voice to standing up against bigotry, violence, racism, voter suppression and any forms of hate that dishonors the legacy of Dr. King. Engage with your community in courageous dialogue to challenge local policies and practices that negatively impact communities of color. Join us in supporting our youth as they are our future.
Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Day and thank you for your continued support — and God Bless!
André V. Chapman, MA
Founder & CEO