Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968), was a man of great integrity, values, and principles. If alive today, Reverend Dr. King would be 92 years old. Leading the effort toward social justice and equality, Reverend Dr. King’s impact went beyond his local community to inspire change in America and the world. In 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed into law an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This day is officially observed the third Monday of January each year (sometimes referred to as MLK Day), which annually coincides with Reverend Dr. King's birthday, January 15.
Reverend Dr. King taught us that there are far more commonalities that unite us than divide us. He often remarked in speeches delivered across the nation, that if we all took time to talk and get to know our neighbors, we would find that our values, ethics, morals, and sense of justice are strikingly aligned. He was the first to acknowledge that while people may disagree on policies and procedures, we are generally in agreement on humanitarian causes centered on love, peace, and compassion. In recognition of his nonviolent works towards hope, peace, and prosperity of all Americans, this year, let us refocus our attention on the elements of life that draw us together and less on the conversations that divide us.
Each year, the month of February is dedicated to honoring and remembering the numerous achievements of Black Americans. The 2020 Black History Month Theme, "African Americans and the Vote" established by the Association for the Study of African American Life and Heritage (ASALH), would have been preaching to the choir for Reverend Dr. King. He intensely understood the importance of the right to vote in the fight for equality. In 1957, he delivered a speech entitled “Give Us the Ballot”, where he articulated that if we (Black Americans) had the right to vote, we would by voting, receive our basic rights.
In the past year, we have borne witness to behaviors, platforms, and initiatives that work against Reverend Dr. King’s vision and dream he held for the American people and the Black Community. The time is now to realign our focus and get back to what matters most: our commonalities and how can we BUILD together?
As a Washington State Business Resource Group, we seek opportunities to engage communities around Washington. Our commitment is to share our perspectives on the varying aspects of the social, historical, and current trends in equity, diversity, and inclusion from the Black Community viewpoint. As part of this effort and journey, we welcome and value allies from all communities to join us in this transformative venture.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Happy Birthday, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.!
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