Monday, January 20, 2014

The Legacy of Martin Luther King

This Message from Rep Joe Dorman reminds all of us of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Joe Dorman is running for Oklahoma Governor to be the Governor of all Oklahomans:

Sharon - 
Today, we take time to pause, remember and to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His dedication and service changed all our lives for the better. We owe a great debt to his work, and the work of other great civil rights pioneers, many of whom are Oklahomans. 
I hope you’ll join me to reflect on the progress our society has made and the promises we have yet to fulfill. In honoring Dr. King's life and legacy, may we remember what connects us instead of what divides us. His example, his life, his actions all demonstrate the power of love and kindness to change the world and the necessity to stand up for what is right and inclusive versus tearing down through division and hatred. Dr. King’s inspiring legacy demands that we continually work to make our state and nation a place where freedom and equality are a reality for individuals of every race, creed, ethnicity and gender. 
The message of Dr. King is just as important today as it was during his life. 

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. . . every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”  - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rep Dorman is correct that the message of Dr. King is just as important today as it was when he was alive.  Over 50 years ago, Dr. King gave his 'I Have a Dream' speech. This excerpt is what I remember the most from his speech when I have listened to it over the years:
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. 
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." 
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. 
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. 
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today. 
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. 
I have a dream today. 
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. 
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." 
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! 
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! 
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California! 
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! 
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! 
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring. 
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
Where would we have been today if the life of MLK was not cut short?  Sometimes the hateful words that come out of the hard right toward minorities make it seem as though we are going back in time not forward.  Will never understand men and women I used to think were reasonable who have become so hateful and nasty because a black man was elected President.  It says more about them then it will ever say about President Obama.  The Conservative Republicans who attack our President relentlessly are small minded people who are not open to change.  They want the status quo before minorities or women could vote in their non-reality world.  The leadership of the hard right is devoid of empathy for their fellow human beings as the 'my way or no way' crowd has taken over.  

It is up to all of us to ensure that the legacy of Dr. King is never forgotten and strive every day in our own communities to make this a better place for all Americans.

When I read this today it hit home the foresight Dr. King displayed and how important it is that we not only honor him but we take his words to heart:
Martin Luther King's Leadership Lessons
Posted: 01/20/2014 4:49 am 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a leader who, like Mahatma Gandhi before him, and Nelson Mandela after him, showed us the way from weakness and division to strength in unity. 
He challenged and inspired us to reach deeper within ourselves, despite ourselves, for our best, which sometimes is, simply, better than yesterday. His power endures because it's rooted in the courage to hold hope and faith in each others potential: "knowing" we can do it... we can be better every day, each in our own way. 
On this, the U.S. holiday celebrating his life and legacy, I present you with ten of his extraordinary thoughts on leadership:
  • "A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus."
  • "I am not interested in power for power's sake, but I'm interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good."
  • "All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality."
  • "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"
  • "The time is always right to do the right thing."
  • "We must use time creatively."
  • "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
  • "The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically."
  • "Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness."
  • "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy"
Was so impressed with the President's speech on the 50th Anniversary of the MLK 'I Have a Dream' Speech on August 28, 2013, that I thought it was worth reliving on this MLK Day:

Heard on the news that over 10,000 people lined the parade route today in Tulsa:
Tulsa's MLK parade draws thousands downtown 
Clear skies and shirt-sleeve temperatures drew thousands of people to downtown Tulsa’s Martin Luther King Day Parade. 
With nearly 200 entries from as far away as Missouri and Kansas, the annual parade has become a truly regional event and one of the largest MLK celebration in this part of the county, said parade chairman Fred Jones.
“We like to look good in Tulsa,” he said. “And I guess we do because we’re getting attention from all over the place.” 
Highlights included the University of Oklahoma’s Sooner Schooner followed by the 2014 Sugar Bowl trophy.
As we go forward into the 2014 election cycle, we need to elect office holders who will work for all the people not a select few.  The person who donates $5 needs to be considered the same as the person who donates thousands because it is a lot harder for some to donate that $5 then it is for wealthy donors to give thousands.  

We need to make sure that our water and are air are clean for our children and grandchildren and they have an opportunity to be anything they want to be by joining forces to fulfill the dreams of Dr. King.

God Bless this Great County and its people!

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