Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In the powerful voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we hear suffering and strength. This combination is so truly human, it reaches through time and space to tug on our common thread and touch our hearts.

Dr. King is recognized in large-part as leader of the civil rights movement, but above all, he was an advocate for humanity. It is wonderful that a national monument in D.C. honoring him is now in place. He traveled over 6 million miles, delivered 2,500 speeches—and in each one, insisted that we recognize our greatest strength: togetherness.

To the 250,000 people gathered at Lincoln Memorial on August 28th, 1963 King advised, “Be concerned about your brother. Either we go up together or we go down together. Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.”

Dr. King knew violence and discrimination intimately. He was stabbed, jailed and his family’s house bombed. From the dirty waters of this hatred, a stunning lotus of compassion bloomed.

In his memory, we may find our own potential for compassion and courage. And in the common quest for peace, we may bridge all perceived gaps of race, religion, culture and experience.

"The moment I met Martin Luther King, Jr., I knew I was in the presence of a holy person.  Not just his good work, but his very being was a source of great inspiration for me”– Thich Nhat Hanh

We all remember Dr. King’s call to let freedom ring from every mountaintop and through each valley. But have we considered our part in this process? We facilitate freedom’s song by opening our hearts, in order that it may resonate within us and gain strength.

In his last speech, Dr. King said that he had seen over the mountain, and that we “as a people” will reach the promised land. Perhaps he was referencing the freedom & empowerment of African Americans, but I believe he was also- once again- calling all our attention to the necessity of unity in the pursuit of peace.

“We cannot walk alone. And as we walk we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

And so today, as we reflect upon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s leadership, we may consider our personal & collective march toward improving the health and wellbeing of ourselves and our world. Dr. King helped lead us to the road of freedom, with what fervor and steadiness, will we walk it?