In 1968, the very year that would mark the end of his life, Martin Luther King and the SCLC organized the "Poor People's Campaign." Dr. King traveled across the nation to assemble a "multi-racial army of the poor" to demand the Congress create a “bill of rights for poor Americans.” Dr. King demanded nothing less than the "reconstruction of society itself.”
This is a dream as yet unrealized, as I, an American born the year of Dr. King’s assassination will turn 42: soon to be three years his senior this year.
The current recession, as terrible as it may be for my contemporaries, is wreaking havoc on the lives of an entire generation of children living in poverty. Rarely do we talk about the jobless rates’ effects on the youngest of us in America. Dr. King wanted to bring that conversation to the fore as the Vietnam War raged on.
Anyone can be mired in poverty’s cycle. Too many of us are.
It’s important to insist that Dr. king’s legacy is everyone’s. His significance should not be lost on anyone who has ever struggled against unfairness. For anyone to let the color of their skin to preclude them from celebrating Dr. King’s legacy is to deny its central aspirations: unity, fairness, equality for all.
I wish a happy and hopeful Martin Luther King Day to you all, everywhere around the world.