M.L.K. Day


Photo Courtesy / Wikimedia

Civil rights activist, M.L.K., speaking during a candid shot

Jillian Saldanha, Editorial Editor

Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the most well-known and beloved civil rights activists in America, so much so that we have a national holiday named for him. The work of M.L.K is celebrated by all, including the political parties that are constantly disagreeing and arguing. However, this has sparked a new argument: which political side should claim King as their own? The answer is neither.

The fact of the matter is that Martin Luther didn’t identify with a particular party during the time he was alive. Like some today, he held Republican beliefs as well as Democratic beliefs. The parties during that time were different from the ones that are known today, policies altered from what they once were. According to biographer David J. Garrow, King was fond of some Democratic politicians, like John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, and of Republican politicians, like Richard Nixon.

Although King did not voice his political beliefs, he came up with universal ideas that should be used no matter what race, ethnicity, gender, or political party you are. Some ideologies include:

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“We’ve learned to fly the air like birds. We’ve learned to swim the sea’s like fish. And yet we haven’t learned to walk the earth like brothers and sisters.”

And the most iconic, “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.”

All of these inspirational quotes all have something that can be internalized in context of today and have intertwining messages . There is controversy in everything, whether we see it or not; it is how it is dealt with that makes a person who they are. All this controversy and differing beliefs have created a division throughout the nation that, if it isn’t fixed soon, might remain. The most important quote should be taken into account when regarding ANY race – black, white, Asian, indigenous. People tend to forget these ideas throughout the year then circle back to them only when this day rolls around. However, these philosophies should be carried throughout life and used to dictate decisions, not boost political agendas.

King’s perception on life and society forced people to open their minds to new ideas. His now widespread thoughts granted him many well-deserved awards, such as the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and more.

This day was created to celebrate the unification of a nation, despite the long road ahead after the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. It symbolizes freedom, not only for African Americans but for all Americans that were tied down because of xenophobia. There is no need to mention anything regarding politics or who should get the day off. Volunteering at a charity, at work, or going out and marching for what King represented is what the day is about.

M.L.K. Day is a day of reflection of yourself as person and yourself as a part of a nation. It’s a day to reflect on how willing you are to keep the country unified without any self-promoting ideas involved. Take this opportunity  to reflect on the content of your character, just as Dr. King would have wanted.