Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an advocate of human rights and equality no matter your racial or ethnic background. Dr. King also promoted respectful and peaceful conflict resolution among all people regardless of skin color.
1. Dr. King was a global leader who inspired non-violent liberation movements around the world. Even today more than 100 nations plan annual programs on King’s birthday to celebrate his contributions.
2. Dr. King had a dream that one day we would live in a world that had “triumphed over poverty, racism, war and violence.” He believed in ecumenical solidarity, meaning all faiths had something meaningful that they could contribute to better society.
3. Dr. King endured harassment, threats, beatings and bombings before eventually being gunned down outside of his motel room. Dr. King went to jail 29 times because of his marches, organizations and protests.
4. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. brought hope and healing to minority races in America. He was an example of the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service. His leadership was one that taught universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and non-violence. In the late sixties and seventies, Dr. King empowered the nation to do something about ensuring freedom and justice for all. Dr. King practiced what he preached and was severely punished for it. He paid the ultimate price, losing his life because of his devotion to the causes of freedom and equality.
5. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day honors the life and contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who is said by his wife to be “America’s greatest champion of racial justice and equality, the leader who not only dreamed of a color-blind society, but who also lead a movement that achieved historic reforms to help make it a reality.”
6. Dr. King’s dream for America was to share in values of equality, tolerance and interracial sister and brotherhood. He wanted the nation to exist peacefully and on principles of interracial and intercultural cooperation and sharing. Although he is typically remembered as an advocate for the rights of African Americans, Americans of all racial backgrounds were a part of Dr. King’s dream.
7. Dr. King was an advocate of non-violence. His fight for social change revolved around unconditional love, tolerance, forgiveness and reconciliation. He believed that without these principles there would be no hope for the unification of America. Dr. King even promoted kind conflict-resolution among those who are your adversaries, regardless of the injustices that may have been committed against you.
8. Martin Luther King, Jr. was also a great advocate of serving your fellow man. This is the reason why service is such an integral part of many Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations. On this holiday, service is performed wherever it is needed. Thousands of projects are organized with the purpose of strengthening community, as was part of his dream.
9. Dr. King was a great preacher of religion and teacher of values. He once said that we all have to decide whether we “will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. Life’s most persistent and nagging question, he said, is `what are you doing for others?’” he would quote Mark 9:35, the scripture in which Jesus of Nazareth tells James and John “…whosoever will be great among you shall be your servant; and whosoever among you will be the first shall be the servant of all.”
10. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. left behind a wife and two children following his assassination. His wife and children continue to carry on his legacy of promoting non-violent conflict resolution, global racial equality and kindness towards all. His family members remain active in public service and are working to ensure that the legacy of Dr. King lives on.