More Than Just a Day
The freedoms that many of us enjoy and often take for granted today were won by the strength, will, and unity of the civil rights champions of the past. Likewise, the freedoms that have yet to be won will be won through the same efforts of today’s champions. To continue to advance freedom in our neighborhoods and around the world, it is imperative that we look to those who have gone before us. More than that, we must look back often to remain informed and inspired as we pursue our goal to bring about meaningful change for the good of all.
Every year, on the third Monday in January, The Unites States commemorates the life of one of the greatest civil rights champions in the history of the nation: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On July 18 every year, people around the world are encouraged to do something positive for their communities in commemoration of Nelson Mandela International Day. Every year on October 2, India observes Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday commemorating the birth of arguably the most influential civil rights leader of all time. All around the world we create holidays and make events to remember the men and women who have struggled day in and day out for our freedoms.
Every year, on the third Tuesday in January, I cannot help but feel discouraged. The seemingly innate ability for us to observe the life and work of Dr. King on Monday and to simply go back to business as usual is unsettling. King, Mandela, and Gandhi would likely shake their heads in disapproval. We need to look back at their lives and be inspired by what inspired them everyday of the year. We need to look forward and come together in service to our communities everyday of the year. If we are to truly walk in the spirit of the men and women we celebrate, we must honor them everyday through our words and actions. To do any less would be a disservice to those who showed up everyday to make civil rights a reality and to those who still long for that reality.