During the Inauguration Concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial yesterday, before launching into the song they wrote in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., Bono said, “On this spot where we’re standing 46 years ago Dr. King had a dream. On Tuesday, that dream comes to pass.” But as much as I love U2 and respect Bono, I just don’t know if that statement is completely true. People are still judged by the color of their skin instead of by the content of their character, whether we choose to believe that or not. It is true that we have made progress. But discrimination, whether it is because of skin color, weight, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or whatever is unfortunately alive and well.
King said, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.”
The election of a black president is not an end. Change itself is not a destination. It is a process. It is a battle. It is a continuous struggle. But it is a process, a battle and a struggle worth undertaking.
“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.”
As we take this day to remember the life of Dr. King and reflect on his dream, his vision, and his words, let us not stop there, but pair it with action. Let’s make a commitment to not be silent, to continue his great work, and to be “dedicated individuals”.