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!" -Martin Luther King, Jr.
At the west end of the National Mall in Washington, DC stands a monument to our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. In the memorial to the Father of the Emancipation Proclamation, a solitary figure of Lincoln sits, nobly surrounded by inscriptions of his most famous addresses, seemingly still thinking about how much further our nation needs to go to realize our full potential. It was no accident that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. chose to stand in front of the Lincoln Memorial to give the most important speech of his life.
With the reassuring sculpture of Abraham Lincoln in his shadow, Dr. King woke our national collective consciousness when he delivered the extraordinary and persuasive words of his "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28th, 1963. His unparalleled ability to communicate paired with his undying commitment to non-violent activism, pinpointed the racism and intolerance that plague our nation. His personal sacrifices, as well as his inspirational leadership, are what ultimately brought us the Civil Rights Act; and to him, a well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize.
Forever remembered for his revolution of passive resistance, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day memorializes the man himself, and his inexhaustible struggle to purify and cleanse the fabric of our nation so long soiled by prejudice and hatred. Through King's "zen-ness," he never lost sight of making a better world by imagining freedom and justice for all...no matter where and no matter whom. His annual holiday also honors all those who came before him and all those still involved in the ongoing struggle for human and civil rights here and worldwide.
This year, why not honor Dr. King's lifelong work of peaceful change by allowing yourself to mindfully reflect on tolerance and acceptance? Let's all make time to remember our nation's continuous struggle for liberty, equality and dignity for all races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, classes, ages, and any other artificial barriers we build to separate ourselves from those we fear or assume are different from ourselves. On this holiday, let's imagine King's vision that we are all, indeed, free at last.
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