If anyone had a right to question whether our democracy was worth redeeming, it was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Because in the face of billy clubs and lynchings, poll taxes and literacy tests, he never gave in to violence, never waved a traitorous flag, never gave up on the country he called home, despite all of the injustices and indignities it brought upon him.
Instead, he set out to realize his dream the most effective—and the most radical—way he knew how, by working with others to march, boycott, and sit in, recognizing that, as he said, “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
The seeds of his courage, his discipline, his vision, and the resilience of all who joined with him took years to bear fruit. But they gave us the Civil Rights Act. The Voting Rights Act. And an American tradition of nonviolent resistance that has rung through the generations, as we saw this summer when Americans of all races echoed his example in standing up to declare that Black Lives Matter—no more but also no less.
On #MLKDay, we celebrate his life but we’re also called to live out his values through service of our own. Here are some ways you can get involved in your community: bideninaugural.org/day-of-service/
We’re in the middle of a tough chapter for our country, but #MLKDay should serve as a reminder that we have been through tough times before—and emerged from them stronger. But only because we never stopped believing in our democracy. Only because we never stopped working to perfect it. And only because, even in the face of intimidation, discrimination, and unimaginable suffering, we never stopped dreaming of a better day—and never stopped doing the long, hard, essential work of ushering it in.