Reality can be frustrating. You think to yourself that things are better and then you hear the news of a racist incidence. You tell yourself that at least it is not as bad as it used to be, but you still feel gutted. You still think to yourself that you should not have to justify things by saying, “It's not as bad as they used to be”, but, then you realize that, as Coretta Scott King said: “[We] need to remember that the struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.” (My Life with Martin Luther King Jr., 1993).
What can YOU do? You are only one person! You may or may not be as charismatic, as young, as mature, as old, as wise, as brave, or as (insert whatever adjective here) as figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, John Lewis and so many others. While they possessed those traits/qualities, they were not extraordinary people. They were all flesh and blood like any of us are. What makes them stand out is that they did not let the idealization of others stop them. They rose to the occasion when they felt the call.
The good news is that the Civil Rights Leaders’ legacy has your back. Below you will read about the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and how he has inspired today’s leaders.
Submitted by Dr. Carmen Laguer Diaz, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, African American Experience and Latin American Humanities, and VAHC Interim Co-Chair, 2020-2021
Great strides have been made and over the years since Dr. King's renowned "I Have a Dream" speech. His work has not been in vain. However, we still have a long way to go. We have social media platforms that make it impossible to turn a blind eye to what is happening in America to our Black men and women at the hands of the very institution, law enforcement, that is supposed to protect them. Valencia College and others organizations/institutions have created LibGuides that provide additional information and resources to increase our awareness such as these listed below:
Dr. King's work paved the way for many great leaders of today, including our first Black President, Barack Obama. In this clips below, President Obama recounts and highlights the great works of Dr. King (October 16, 2011). He then vows to carry on the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders (January 21,2013).
Kamala Harris is the first Black and first woman to hold the position of Vice President of the United States of America. She was elected in the November 3, 2020 election and inaugurated on January 20, 2021. What the clip below recapping the vision that Dr. King had (April 3, 2018) and an address of the 57th anniversary of the march on Washington (August 29, 2020).