MLK Jr. Day 2017

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(Image of Rev. Alfred Dearing reading MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech)

It’s one of those days where my energy is waning, but I feel the need to acknowledge the man whom we are celebrating today.

I’ll always remember my first trial story as a professional journalist was covering the MLK Jr. Annual Legacy Walk in my small, rural, Virginia town.  Racism still exists there, and remnants of segregation are visible–but there is an energy that I’ve seen few other places, an energy to continue moving forward in true MLK fashion.

Lots of quotes are floating around social media, lauding the brilliance of the man who truly did SO MUCH for the Civil Rights cause.  However, I want to challenge everyone, including myself, to take it to the next level–don’t just quote, act.  Don’t allow his death to be in vain.  Don’t allow the hundreds, and even thousands, of lives taken annually in the USA by racist violence to be in vain.  If you hear a conversation with a racial tone, jump in.  If you know there is an event in which you can participate, do your best to be there.  It won’t always be convenient, but standing up for what you believe in is always worth it.

Remember: this is an ongoing fight, a fight that has cost many people everything.  That’s a scary concept to people who aren’t used to taking “it all” into their hands every time they walk out the door.  But, I’m thankful for people I can look up to who have fought hard and well to blaze a path forward–and now I want to do my part to assist.

Let’s keep that dream alive, let’s stand up for what we believe in, let’s willingly “stand down” so we can better understand what others are going to–because that’s what humans do.

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