Although Martin Luther King, Jr. is remembered in one way or the other - every day of every year - in the U.S. and beyond, the U.S. pauses officially once a year to honor this great American. On 2 November 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed into law a bill creating a national holiday - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - a day dedicated to remember Dr. King and what he stood for. [Source].
This year, 2012, Martin Luther King Day is on Monday, 16 January. It is worthy to note at this point that Martin Luther King Day has no fixed date. It is observed every year - since 1986 - on the third Monday of January. [Source].
A lot has been written about Dr. King. He was a civil rights icon who led a non-violent movement against racial segregation and discrimination in the U.S. He advocated equality and non-violent protest in the face of unprecedented discrimination, disenfranchisement, brutality and other forms of injustice targeting Americans of African descent.
This great American is best known for his "I Have A Dream" speech - a compelling speech delivered in August 1963 to a crowd of a quarter of a million people at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
I do not keep copies of speeches, but I must confess - a copy of this landmark speech is in one of my files. I printed it out sometime in 2007 and carefully read it. It made sense then as it makes sense today.
Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, but his words live on and continue to inspire hope for a world void of racial segregation and discrimination.
In many parts of the world, individuals are still being "judged by the color of their skin."
I am confident that if Dr. King were alive today, he would agree that although some progress has been made in the fight against racial discrimination, "traces of bigotry still mar America" and many other countries. There is still a lot of work to be done.
He would unequivocally condemn all human rights violations, including the death penalty - which, according to Laura Moye, Death Penalty Abolition Campaign Director at Amnesty International USA, is "discriminatory and used disproportionately against the poor, minorities and members of racial, ethnic and religious communities."
You are encouraged to stand up for human rights. Promote and respect the rights of all individuals, irrespective of race, color or other grounds, and make every day a Martin Luther King Day.
*Photo: Write Spirit.
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