What Martin Luther King Jr. Day Means to Me
- Posted by Courtney Quigley
- On January 20, 2020
- 0 Comments
““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.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Thank you Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for your commitment and passion, may your legacy continue in our world, countries, cities, streets, policies, conversations, schools, and beyond.
I remember receiving the email like it was yesterday, I had been accepted to the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholars program at New York University (NYU). This was one of the few merit-based scholarship programs at NYU. I was in the waiting room of a doctor’s office with my mom when the email popped into my inbox. I was in shock as I wasn’t even sure that I could get into NYU when I applied to it. My mother was shocked too. Had they made a mistake? Was this a real email? To my humble surprise, it was real.
Going into the program, I knew only the most well-known facts about Dr. MLK Jr. I had learned about his “I Have a Dream” speech from a young age. My teachers had told me about how heroic he was in his passion for peace and justice. However, I had no idea how evidently his foundation of leadership was built on his faith and how unwavering his desire to dedicate his life to something beyond himself was. Dr. MLK Jr. was a thought-leader, an intellectual, a father, a husband, a strong defender of peace, a pastor, and at one point even a prisoner on behalf of his social action. It is unfathomable the type of scrutiny, criticism, and hatred he endured for what he believed. Yet, he never gave up.
Today, I reflect on my experiences in the MLK Scholars program at NYU with deep gratitude. In the program, I learned so much about social justice and advocacy. I met students from around the country who shared my love for making a difference in the world. But what I am most thankful for is the stronger understanding I now have of Dr. MLK Jr.’s legacy and what today means.
Here at HOPE’S IN we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day by trying to continue his work. He organized and amplified the voices of people who cried out for a world that was more accepting and loving. He defended–unto death–something he believed in deep within his heart and soul. He rallied people to do the same. We will try to come close to his levels of dedication, heart-felt sacrafice, and devotion here as we fight for families we love in Guatemala.