Dr. King’s Legacy Continues to Inspire
On Monday, the United States will not only observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but President Obama will also be publically sworn in for his second term in office. Despite this partial realization of Dr. King’s dream that people be judged “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” fulfilled poetically by our nation’s first black president, we recognize that Dr. King’s vision of justice does not end with symbolic equality at the highest levels of government.
As President Obama takes the oath of office, he will recommit himself to the challenging task of addressing many of the same gaps in social justice that plagued Dr. King’s conscience. In February of 1967, Dr. King explained that “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.” These words remind us that we must not measure President Obama merely by his reelection, but by his willingness to pursue and his ability to achieve justice this coming term. We too bear responsibility. We must be partners with our elected officials, whether it is the President, those in Congress, or representatives in our home states and cities; together, we can work towards righteousness.
More than four decades after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the late leader’s legacy continues to inspire a moral vision for America. Today, just as the Jewish community did at the height of the civil rights movement, we share Dr. King’s pursuit of equality and commitment to justice. Like Dr. King, we in the Reform Movement are guided by religious principles in our search for justice. Although we recognize that many of the tasks before us are difficult to achieve, we are reminded that “the day is short and the work is great. It is not for you alone to complete the task but neither are you free to desist from it” (Avot 2:21).
Whether our work rests in gun violence prevention, economic or environmental justice, or the continual pursuit of civil rights for all, we recognize that the values that Dr. King preached are as always relevant.
Stay tuned over the next week, as we at RACblog apply the lessons taught by Dr. King to our modern struggles. Also be sure to check out our resource page for MLK day!
Image courtesy of 2013 Presidential Inauguration