I’ve always been incredibly moved by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s final speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” The speech was given on April 3, 1968, and it closes with:
“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now…I have seen the promised land. I may not get there with you…I’m not worried about anything! I’m not fearing any man! Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!”
The next day he was assassinated.
A lot of us have probably caught ourselves saying, “Look how far we’ve made it.” But our country has seen some dark days as of late. We are currently living in a period marked by tense race relations, and it is apparent that we still have a long way to go. There are still difficult days ahead. Social media and modern technology have given us unprecedented access to information, and this access has shown us that we still have a lot of issues that need solving in the United States. These are issues that go far beyond the color of our skin but how we view and treat each other as people.
Today we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and I hope you take some time to read his words and reflect on what a change one man made by standing up, speaking out, and sacrificing on behalf of others. I only wish I had even half the courage he had.
I hope you take some time to look at your own life. Look at how you can fight on behalf of those who may be lost or broken or feeling unloved or struggling. It is not an easy fight – this battle against shame and stigma and indifference. But we can fight it. We can show up to every waking day fighting for what we believe in, always.
In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, here are some suggested videos and readings:
2. I’ve Been to the Mountaintop
3. Letter from a Birmingham Jail
4. Documentary: Freedom Riders