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5 decades later and from generation to generation, many have lived to witness the legacy and longevity of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s spirit; a spirit that 50 years later still permeates every soul.  Dr. King stood proudly, without fear, reservation, or doubt on the merits of hope, equality, and inspiration.  What Dr. King professed in 1963 remains relevant in 2013.  Many have attempted to fill the void left by his assassination, but none have garnered the mass support or respect shown to Dr. King.  An oracle and visionary, he fought vehemently to pave the way so all citizens would be afforded the same rights and opportunities; a feat that is still an ongoing battle.

It doesn’t escape public perception and irony that on the anniversary of the March on Washington and the infamous I Have a Dream speech, the nation is still rattled and reeling from the senseless death of another Martin, Trayvon Martin, and the injustice that pursued.  Trayvon’s death symbolized everything Dr. King hoped for and fought against.  How apropos that a few months prior to the March on Washington, King stated, “”Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”  Not even King could have imagined the magnitude and relevance of his words and how they would predict the fate of a world yet to be seen.

But it was what King said four years later that still perpetuates the dream and gives all of us hope.  “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  The nation, yet divided, was awakened and countless civil rights activists, religious leaders, organizations, and citizens rallied together to defend the rights and liberties of all mankind.  Trayvon paid the ultimate price, a price that can never be undone, but it served as a catalyst to re-energize public responsibility and government accountability, much as Dr. King did when he fought for civil liberties.

Dr. King was well aware of the sacrifice he was making and chose the path he walked.  Trayvon, on the other hand, was unaware of what would transpire as he walked home on that fatal night.  Nonetheless, both stood firm in the face of opposition.  As Dr. King poignantly proclaimed, “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.”  It’s beyond time for our country to move past racial and economic divides.  Not only does that mentality and course of action create separation and animosity, but it also weakens the country as a whole.  Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno, Latin for “One for All, and All for One” is a phrase often spoken, but seldom practiced.

Prayerfully, during the course of the next 50 years, Dr. King’s dream will come to fruition and Trayvon’s death will not become another blip in the dysfunction and derogation of society.  The March on Washington spurred a paradigm shift in the collective thinking of America and the ability to do so again can be resurrected from the dormant slumber of societal ignorance.  It is time to rally again for justice’s sake and destroy the color barriers and socio-economic bigotry.  If this nation is to grow and prosper, sustain for generations to come, and leave an inheritance of life and love, we must all “commit {ourselves} to the noble struggle for equal rights {and} make a greater person of {ourselves}, a greater nation of {our} country, and a finer world to live in.”   We have to begin mending the wounds and righting the wrongs and whether you followed Dr. King or believed in his doctrine, no one can deny the dream he envisioned is still far greater than today’s reality.

“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.