As we celebrate another Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in honor of the great work and sacrifices that Dr. King made not only for African Americans but also for humanity as a whole.
We have clearly seen in the past year alone that America has not yet attained the attainable dream that Dr. King dedicated his life to. It is evident with the senseless killings of unarmed minorities men and women by those who have sworn to protect and serve. It is seen by the years of inequities in our health care system that has led to more deaths from COVID-19 in the Black, brown, Native and Hispanics communities. It is evident by the decades of economic disadvantages that has left millions of minority communities far below the poverty line.
It is also evident by the division in our country because of the different political ideologies that have lead to the attack on the U.S. Capitol, which was also an attack on our democracy and the very constitution that made America the envy of the world
We are a long way from attaining his dream. I actually believe that sometimes we are going in the wrong direction.
Though African Americans have made tremendous progress within the political arena with the historical election of Barack Obama the first African American president, the historical election of the first African American senator in the red state of Georgia and now Kamala Harris who will become the first African American woman to hold the office of vice president.
But yet we still have a long way to go if we’re going to ever attain Dr. King’s attainable dream.
The 2020 pandemic and the elections have exposed the racial disparities and racial hate that has been denied and ignored in this country for years, but America cannot survive with it being ignored or denied any longer. If we are going to leave a better world for the next generation we have to address the racial disparities and the racial injustice in this country.
We living in some of the most unpresidented times in the 21st century, but as I look at every quote from Dr. King I see can the warnings that he foresaw decades ago if America did not pursue and attain his attainable dream.
I also believe that the biggest problem we face as a nation and as a county is accountability.
We never take the time to ask ourselves one of the most important question, and that is what have I as an individual contributed to this dream and what have I contributed to the nightmare. We have to be honest with ourselves about our contribution to society, and our individual roles in the division that we are witnessing in our nation and in our county today. We have to also hold our leadership more accountable whenever they do not uphold the moral standards of God nor support policies that promote unity and equality for all.
The Bible says in Matthew 22:38, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, then it’s only right that my love began in my neighborhood, it should start in my community, not in Washington, D.C., not at the state capital but in my very own neighborhood.
I’m convinced that this is the very first step in attaining Dr. King’s dream. He believed that hate could not defeat hate but that it could only be defeated by love, which is also a biblical principle.
God’s response to a sinful and ungrateful world was His love followed by a sacrifice, and to have witnessed so much hate in this country over a one-year span is very troubling, especially for a country that identifies itself as a Christian nation founded on biblical principles.
Usually around this time of the year the Unified Robeson County NAACP would be very active doing different programs in honor of the late great Dr. King, but with the pandemic and the positive rate in Robeson County we are unable to have our traditional programs in honor of this trailblazer who means so much to the world today.
But as individuals we can show homage to Dr. King and also make a contribution to his dream this attainable dream by first asking ourselves, what have I as an individual contributed and what more can I offer to a dream that is the only solution to the turmoil, division and chaos that America is in today, a dream that is easier attained by loving one another followed by cooperation, dedication, determination and discipline.
I can assure you that the Unified Robeson County NAACP will continue to be a voice for the voiceless and will fight for the equality that everyone deserves in this county and in this country.
We will continue to do our part in attaining Dr. King’s attainable dream.
The Rev. Tyrone Watson Sr. is president of Unified Robeson County NAACP.
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