“One day we will have to stand before the God of history, and we will talk in terms of things we’ve done. And it seems that I can hear the God of history saying, ‘That was not enough! But I was hunger, and you feed me not.’” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I was chatting with one of my friends from Tunisia yesterday, and I asked him how things were there. His response was simple, yet powerful: “Tunisia is living a revolution and will get better sooner.” Surprisingly, his statement made me jealous. My friends in Tunisia are experiencing something I have never had the pleasure of living: a political and social movement that changes the face of a country.
I immediately began to wonder what it must feel like to live and witness moments that would be written in the world’s history book. I wanted that experience. I wanted those memories. I wanted to live history…but could I.
Would I be willing to stand and sacrifice for something bigger than myself? Would I be willing to risk my life for a freedom I may never see materialize? Would I be strong enough to fight when there was no end in sight?
While I hope and pray that the answer to all of these questions would be yes, I’m not 100% sure that it would be. I would even bet that most of the youth, who often mobilize these political and social movements, of today would waiver in their answers. Individuals of today are just too self-centered to provide long-term focus towards making the world around them a better place. If they weren’t, wouldn’t Barack Obama’s change campaign have produced more results?
Forty-three years ago today Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. He was part of a revolution. He lived history. He worked to make the world around him a better place. He also paid a price for these experiences. He was martyred for a cause bigger than himself. His life was sacrificed for individuals whom he will never know. And his memorials remind us of a man that is no more.
When King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, he was preparing to march with 1,300 striking sanitation workers. He was fighting for the working poor, a group of individuals often overlooked and taken advantage of by our society.
Today the list of individuals that are victimized by society has grown extensively. My short list includes the middle class, urban youth, immigrants, and those affected long-term by natural and man-made disasters. Who is going to stand for them? Who is going to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves? Who is willing to sacrifice for someone else?
“Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right” (MLK, Jr.). As we muster of the strength to pick up our cause and fight, I’m going to leave you with the prophetic speech given by Dr. King the night before he was murdered. Hopefully, it will provide you with the motivation to change this world we live in.
Yes, service costs! Dr. King was willing to pay the ultimate price. However, the question remains: are you willing to pay a fraction of that?