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King’s message of love, equality lives on

EDITORIAL

The Advocate-Messenger

The nation will pause Monday to honor the work of perhaps one of the most influential men in its history. As we recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we celebrate his messages of love in action and unity.

It is strikingly evident that King’s messages are as important today as they were decades ago when he became the most visible spokesperson and leader of the Civil Rights Movement.

Here, we wanted to share some of the incredibly powerful words King penned and spoke as he fought for equality in our nation.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“If you can’t fly, then run; if you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“The time is always ripe to do what is right.”

“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend.”

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

“No, violence is not the way. Hate is not the way. Bitterness is not the way. We must stand up with love in our hearts, with a lack of bitterness and yet a determination to protest courageously for justice and freedom in this land.”

This year marks King’s 90th birthday and last year marked the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination, which occurred April 4, 1968, in Memphis.

While King’s life was cut tragically short, his influence lives on in each person who seeks equality, justice, fairness, love and tolerance.

King’s dream of equality has yet to be fully realized, but there are millions who live each day with the same goal in mind.

May these words we share here be more than quotes of historical significance.

It is our hope that half a century later, these words will be inspiration for those in our community and our nation — from the least of these to those with the most authority — to be kinder, gentler, more understanding, more tolerant, more accepting, more loving and more willing to look beyond our differences.

May these quotes be reminders to celebrate our similarities but to also find strength in working alongside those who offer something different than us, whether that be because of their gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, nationality or whatever else some might choose to use as a divisive force.

Instead, let us be united in our efforts to love more, to hate less and to speak out against injustice.

While it can be easy to be brought down by the negativity of the world, we hope King’s words will be a reminder to carry on — “So even though we face difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.”