Editor’s note: As we begin 2018 hoping all our readers enjoy a healthy, prosperous year, TheHUB recognizes the contributions of a true American hero whose birthday we recognize in January. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of peace and equality in cities like Flint and throughout the country. In the essay below, Stacy Swimp shares his perspective on Dr. King’s recommendation for improving our communities. As we celebrate Dr. King’s memory let’s also celebrate the society he envisioned – and the role we play in creating it.
Although Dr. Martin L. King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech stands among his most recognized messages, he also advocated the importance of doing right by and for ourselves and others.
His words remind us that there can be no permanent boundaries around us unless we place them around ourselves. King challenged us to be determined to accomplish our goals, offering ourselves no excuse for failing to achieve or accomplish whatever we set out to do.
“Believe in yourself and believe that you’re somebody. Nobody else can do this for us. No document can do this for us. No Lincolnian Emancipation Proclamation can do this for us. No Kennedsonian or Johnsonian Civil Rights Bill can do this for us,” he said.
King emphasized that one of the ways we can truly be free is to maintain an expectation of righteousness within our homes and communities. At the very core of everything he taught was an uncompromising belief in these values. He challenged us to understand how we often slay one another daily through gossip, slander, envy and wrath. He said that we needed a real revolution of values in our nation and in our communities as much as we needed public policy changes.
What would he think of, and do with, the extraordinary power of social media today? I believe he would leverage it to do good by encouraging all of us to step up and take personal action to combat pressing challenges, from high crime and illiteracy rates to broken families and joblessness, as well as to instill a greater sense of being responsible for our community.
That begins with love.
Let us remember how important it is to love one another. We honor him when we recognize his belief that the best solutions for our community are not going to come from politicians or government. They are going to come from the man or woman you see in the mirror.
One person at a time.
One home at a time.
One neighborhood at a time.
We must do this for ourselves, and many are.
Let’s make a pledge this year to do more.