"Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals... This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action."
"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
"There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies."
"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant."
quotes gathered from The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change
As the country reflects on the life and legacy of one of the greatest American heroes that will ever live, I can't help but wonder what Dr. King would think of the America of today. What would he tell us? How would he encourage us?
There is so much work to be done in the country for equality and justice. It can feel overwhelming at times. I wonder what change is actually being made. I wonder what little me can do to help this big world.
Dr. King had a dream that was radical and threatened the status quo. His vision was considered dangerous to the powers that be. He was jailed and threatened. Those around him were terrorized, beaten, abused, and treated with vicious hate. But he didn't give up. He didn't stop dreaming.
The odds were against him. He was a second-class citizen climbing an uphill battle. Some people probably thought he should give up. Some people probably thought he would never succeed. But he didn't give up. He didn't stop dreaming.
Maybe that's the message we need to hear today and every day. Our dreams can become reality. Our vision for how to make the world a better place can manifest into something tangible. Our hopes for our families, our communities, and our society are valuable and necessary.
So don't give up on yourself. Don't be afraid to use your voice. Don't think you can't make a difference.
And please, don't ever stop dreaming.