Today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, celebrated as a holiday in the United States of America. He is most famous for his speech "I have a dream…". But while reading about the meaning of this holiday, I came across these words by Mrs King,
On this day we commemorate Dr. King’s great dream of a vibrant, multiracial nation united in justice, peace and reconciliation; a nation that has a place at the table for children of every race and room at the inn for every needy child. We are called on this holiday, not merely to honor, but to celebrate the values of equality, tolerance and interracial sister and brotherhood he so compellingly expressed in his great dream for America.
It is a day of interracial and intercultural cooperation and sharing. No other day of the year brings so many peoples from different cultural backgrounds together in such a vibrant spirit of brother and sisterhood. Whether you are African-American, Hispanic or Native American, whether you are Caucasian or Asian-American, you are part of the great dream Martin Luther King, Jr. had for America. This is not a black holiday; it is a peoples’ holiday.
And though we take patriotic pride that Dr. King was an American, on this holiday we must also commemorate the global leader who inspired nonviolent liberation movements
The King Holiday celebrates Dr. King’s global vision of the world house, a world whose people and nations had triumphed over poverty, racism, war and violence. The holiday celebrates his vision of ecumenical solidarity, his insistence that all faiths had something meaningful to contribute to building the beloved community.
The Holiday commemorates America’s pre-eminent advocate of nonviolence – the man who taught by his example that nonviolent action is the most powerful, revolutionary force for social change available to oppressed people in their struggles for liberation.
It is a day of intensive education and training in Martin’s philosophy and methods of nonviolent social change and conflict-reconciliation.
It is a time to show them the power of forgiveness in the healing process at the interpersonal as well as international levels.
- What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy? ~ Mahatma Gandhi, "Non-Violence in Peace and War"