It’s impossible not to have a heavy heart as we go through today, the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This day spurs us to examine ourselves, our work, and our nation with new and pained eyes. On a personal level, I’m reflecting on my own deeds and asking, where could I be braver? Am I sharing or contributing to a vision with the passion that he and so many other civil rights leaders did, 50 years ago?
For us at CSSP, it’s a time for organizational recommitment. We have identified as an anti-racist organization for almost 15 years, with a mission to fight poverty and inequality since our creation 40 years ago…but we can always do more. Where can we be bolder? More effective? As a team of people with strong bonds among us, we recommit ourselves today to be more powerful together.
When we look at where we are nationally, the important thing is not to be discouraged. The forces pushing change in all the directions that King fought against – policies and laws that exacerbate racial and economic disparities – are now very strong, in fact being reinvented for a new era. But we know from our work with partners across the country that the forces pushing back are stronger – young people refusing to settle for the status quo, committed communities, new city efforts to govern with equity. We believe that those will prevail. To think otherwise is to diminish King’s dream which rings out in his voice whenever we think of him.
I urge all of us to observe King’s legacy in some way today. Join a commemorative event. Talk with a friend. Reread any part of his writings. Take one more step in fighting for something you believe in. Let’s all move into tomorrow braver, wiser and with stronger ties among us as the result of his life.
Frank Farrow is the president at CSSP.