18 January 2010

Happy Birthday, MLK Jr!

I majored in American Studies when I was an undergrad at Fordham University here in New York City. In the last semester of my senior year, I enrolled in an exit level course dedicated to studying the lives and messages of two of our country's most celebrated civil rights leaders: Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Over the course of that semester, I had one of the most enriching and passionate learning experiences of my entire academic life.

On this third Monday in January, while gloriously reveling in the fact that I have a three day weekend, it is important to stop, reflect, and remember why.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a man to be revered, admired and rightfully memorialized. He was far more eloquent than I will ever be, so please, take a few moments to read this excerpt from one of his speeches, taken from a 1967 sermon on peace.

"All life is interrelated. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Did you ever stop to think for a moment that you cannot leave your home in the morning without being dependent on most of the world? You get up, go into the bathroom and reach for the loofah sponge in the shower, and that's handed to you by a Pacific Islander. You reach for a bar of soap, and that's given to you at the hands of a Frenchman. And then you go into the kitchen and drink your coffee and that's poured into your cup by a South American. Or, maybe you want tea: that's poured by a Chinese. Or, maybe you're desirous of having hot cocoa, and that's poured by a West African. And then you reach for your toast, and that's given to you at the hands of an English-speaking farmer, not to mention the baker. And before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you have depended on more than half the world. We aren't going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all humanity and all reality."

Happy Birthday, MLK Jr! (note: Dr. King's actual birthday is the 15th of January. However, the United States commemorates him on the third Monday of every January).

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