Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Dr. King was a pastor, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He was one of the people responsible for organizing the 1963 March in Washington, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. His many speeches helped shape him as one of the greatest orators in American history. In 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence.
In 1965, he and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference helped organize the Selma to Montgomery marches. This year, to celebrate the 50th anniversary, labor activists will stand side by side with civil rights leaders past and present and once again march from Selma to Montgomery to honor the memory of Dr. King and the many others that risked their lives daring to put their dreams into action.
Each of us has a duty to carry on the work of Dr. King. If we want a just society, we must roll up our sleeves and work for justice. Dr. King said, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
During these times when our nation is fraught with uncertainty, divisiveness and rancor, Dr. King calls upon us to act when he said “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 cannot afford to sit on the sidelines and let others define our future. There is no better time than now for working men and women to join together to realize the dream.
William R. Dougan
National Federation of Federal Employees