Every Martin Luther King Day my friend sends out an email to friends and family as a way to commemorate Dr. King and inspire us all to continue working towards his dream. I think it’s a wonderful tradition. With my friend’s permission, I have reposted his 2012 MLK Day email below.
This year we will excitedly bring a baby girl into our warm embrace.
We also will bring her into an imperfect world, full of pain and promise.
Disparities in so much of our society persist, but movements like the Arab spring and Occupy give us hope (as do HelpOthers.org’s top 10 kindness stories of 2011). Hope for a world that feels ever so slightly better to raise a child in. Hope that we adults might just do right by our kids.
We all have a responsibility to shape that world. It’s an active responsibility. Dr. King put it plainly and forcefully: “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”
I’m not sure MLK was necessarily espousing that we all uproot our lives in service to a cause. I think of his life’s message as more fundamental, basic, and achievable. (I’ve grown more practical as I’ve solidly entered my 30s. Less idealistic, if you like…but I prefer more practical.) His vision for a better world was all about how we treat each other. That we do so with abiding kindness. That we approach each other with humility and empathy. That we start from the belief that every life is of equal value. We listen patiently, we tip handsomely, we thank profusely, we smile widely. We understand the interconnectedness of everything, and maybe we even try to see the divine in every person.
At times that may require some serious squinting — especially in an election year. But hope springs eternal.
In 2012, let’s resolve to live.
How are you planning to celebrate MLK day this year? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments.