Today we celebrate the life and achievements of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. It was his hard work and revolutionary vision of equality that instigated many of the changes in our country’s history. He was the strength behind seminal moments such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the 1963 March on Washington, which helped bring about the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.
The King Center, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving Dr. King’s memory, encourages Martin Luther King Jr. Day to be “a day on, not a day off,” calling for those who have the day off work to honor Dr. King’s life through volunteerism. At Kopka Pinkus Dolin, our offices will come together this week for our preliminary Kopka Cares Committee meetings. These meetings are intended to plan the next charitable event that will take place here at the firm. The goal of this committee is to serve our local communities and deliver what the underserved populations in our areas need the most.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is also a day when we can take the time to learn the history of Dr. King through reading books authored by Dr. King, his family, and other African American leaders to broaden our scope. We can educate ourselves on his views by reading his words. A great start is with his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” It was written in response to a public statement of concern and caution issued by eight white religious leaders of the South, and stands as one of the classic documents of the civil-rights movement.
In “Letter from Birmingham Jail” he wrote:
“Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.”
Martin Luther King Jr. is admired for his unwavering stance against racial injustice. Though he delivered emboldened speeches about the unjust social climate facing people of color across the country during the Civil Rights Movement, he also took substantial action to foster change. He exemplified the lesson that progress is the result of work and sacrifice, and left us with a message within his legacy that we must keep moving forward. Have a meaningful Martin Luther King Jr. Day!