It’s Martin Luther King Day, and I am enjoying a day off from work. It is supposed to be a day of reflection and service. To be honest, I typically spend the Martin Luther King holiday in the service of me catching up on my neglected house chores. I can sleep a little later and write more than my usual dismal amount on a work day.
But this Martin Luther King Day feels so different. I am struck by the timelessness of this brave man’s words and the action he desperately believed for all Americans. I am not Black, or Hispanic, or Asian, or Native American or Other. I am American—proud of the legacy of leaders that mirrored the essence of the founding fathers. The words of the Constitution proclaim freedom for all to speak, read, process and practice life’s pursuit of happiness. It is and always has been a work in progress. We Americans have always needed the words of courageous citizens to remind us of these American goals.
It is the words that matter. On this day, words should really matter. Let’s bring the spirit of Martin Luther King to soften the words of brutality and frustration so that all can hear without trembling or brewing anger. Let’s choose words that sing out peace and compassion so that all can listen without feeling degraded and shame. Let’s speak out the words that reach hearts that enlighten minds, rather than churn stomachs and point fingers. Let’s temper words so that all can trust the unity of our nation and the global community of fellow brothers and sisters, no matter the language that is spoken, the religion that is practiced, or the color of the skin.
Martin Luther King lived to unite our nation to a greatness we so desperately want to achieve. His words were directed to all Americans. This Martin Luther King holiday, more than ever, our nation needs to heed the words of the dream for unity and peace. If words of peace and fairness are spoken and written with honesty, action will follow. It is through action America can claim greatness.