It is half a century since Dr. King helped organize the first march from Selma to Montgomery. From education to political representation, things have gotten better. Yet as we have seen in cities like Charleston and Chicago – and in everything from corporate leadership to incarceration – we still have a long way to go. Inequality still cuts short lives and opportunities for people of color in America. We are still missing out on the full range of talents and experiences in this country. We are still so far from true equality.
We must challenge ourselves and each other to do better. We must reach across barriers of understanding, even when it makes us uncomfortable, even when it is hard. Especially when it is hard.
Equality does not stop at race, gender, or faith. A truly equal world is one where everyone has access to opportunity, and no one is prevented from reaching their potential; where everyone is afforded the respect and protections they deserve, and no-one suffers from discrimination; where hatred and ignorance give way to tolerance and love. That is the world that Dr. King dreamt of and began to build. It’s up to all of us to bring it to life.
Dr. King saw that every step forward is a step toward a better future. In the struggle for equality, he said, “we must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.” We will get to a more equal nation and a more equal world – for black Americans, for Latinos, for women and for everyone whose voice has not been heard.
Today many Americans will be serving their communities and our country – volunteering, teaching, and building a better America. In their service we see infinite hope.
“Faith is taking the first step when you can’t see the whole staircase.”