By Rep. Darrio Melton
Yesterday, we honored the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the dream he shared for all people of this country.
Dr. King was a drum major for justice, an agitator for equality and a fighter for freedom. Dr. King’s life has impacted people around the world who are continually inspired by his words at the Lincoln Memorial and his letter from the Birmingham jail. Now, 50 years later, it is our job to ensure that his dream did not die on the balcony on the Loraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
Some people say it has been 50 years since the movement, but I think we’re still a part of the movement, and we must keep pushing forward for justice and peace among all people.
When Dr. King accepted his Nobel Peace Prize, he said, “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture of their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.”
See, a lot has changed since Dr. King last spoke to us, but there is still work to do to achieve his dream.
People everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, but hunger in Alabama is the highest in the United States.
People everywhere can have education and culture for their minds, but public schools and teachers in Alabama are under attack by the Republican supermajority.
People everywhere can have dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits, but the Voting Rights Act has been crippled, voter suppression is rampant and district lines have been drawn to favor rich over poor.
We are a long way from the America in Dr. King’s dream.
if we expect to see a difference in this world, we must continue the fight. We must rise every day and work to bring the people together, for just as we are one body in Christ, we are one nation under God.
I know the dream is still alive.
The dream didn’t die when they murdered Emmett Till in 1955, because the dream lived on when his mother stood bravely against the terrible violence her son endured.
The dream didn’t die on the Edmund Pettus Bridge with billie clubs and tear gas on Bloody Sunday, because the dream lived on when we got to the other side and saw President Johnson sign the Voting Rights Act.
And the dream didn’t die on the balcony of the Loraine Motel, because the dream lives on through those who work to honor the legacy of Dr. King today.
We must honor the life and legacy of Dr. King by being evidence that his dream lives on by rising up and living out the true meaning of our creed, that all men are created equal.
Representative Darrio Melton is a Democrat from Selma. He was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2010.