Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.– A Lifelong and Lasting Legacy

Dara LevanBlog9 Comments

I stared this week at a flashing cursor and a blank page. My mind was spinning with feelings and thoughts. Quite frankly, I could have posted multiple blogs! But I got quiet and followed my heart.

Hateful, unfathomable statements continue to spew from leaders across the globe. I want to be crystal clear: This is not a political statement or a partisan piece. I am referring to humanity. I am appalled at how people treat their family, friends, peers, and strangers. I am equally horrified by the leadership, or lack thereof, in our country and abroad. It’s vile. It’s frightening. It’s disgusting. Yet. The condescending, toxic vitriol is like a viral epidemic.

Tomorrow, we formally remember and honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. President Ronald Reagan signed a bill in 1983 creating a U.S. federal holiday in honor of Dr. King. Martin Luther King day was first celebrated in 1986. I was in elementary school then.

As a young girl, I recall this meaningful day in mid-January. I remember watching videos and feeling a whoosh of wonder and awe. I did then and do now yearn for eloquent, passionate, and devoted orators like Dr. King. I wish I’d had the privilege of meeting Dr. King. I am profoundly grateful for his spoken and written words, which are his eternal legacy.

This peaceful activist and visionary left a lasting imprint on our planet. He sadly lived a short life. Dr. King, similar to Mahatma Gandhi, believed in nonviolent advocacy of civil rights. The heartbreaking irony is Dr. King was assassinated in 1968. And what I find deeply disturbing is that even years later, the violence continues. It is 2018 and racism, anti-semitism, and multiple other atrocious -isms seep sickeningly into our society.

Some people only associate Dr. King with his brilliant and unforgettable “I Have A Dream” speech. He also received the Nobel Peace Prize just a few years before his sudden death. This gentle and peacefully powerful man impacted our world in innumerable ways. The day before he was shot, Dr. King spoke these words (in reference to a bomb threat):

“. . .Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. . .”

So what can we do as as individuals and as a collective community? Teach our children kindness, acceptance, and integrity. Live our lives humbly and honestly. It’s not just the words we speak. It is our actions. It is how we choose to live our lives. We can model perseverance despite and in spite of adversity, judgment, and any other challenges that attempt to block our paths.

“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. King stated this decades ago. His poignant and perceptive teachings continue to inspire me. I hope tomorrow you take the time, even if just for a few minutes, and read about Dr. King. We need his embracing, engaging guidance more than ever. 

One soul at a time, we can heal together. Adversity and tragedy will always exist. I am gradually and finally accepting that is part of our journey. I am thrilled there is a recent movement toward spreading kindness. It is a start. But we must do more. We must advocate for those who cannot or will not do so for themselves. 

We must speak our truths, even when it is difficult to do so. We should not tolerate abuse, hate, or injustice; what we allow will continue. Let’s peacefully set boundaries in our personal and public lives. Let’s together embrace and encourage all souls to elevate and expand.  

9 Comments on “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.– A Lifelong and Lasting Legacy”

  1. Timeless words from MLK and you Dara. But truthfully I wish these words would be shocking, and unnecessary! Shocking that they were ever said and shocking they were ever needed! Unfortunately, here we are still saying them, but maybe comforted that they do still have a meaning, a deep meaning that causes us to continue forward, continue following our hearts, and choosing to lead by example. Thank you Dara!

  2. My dearest Dara:
    One of the beautiful things I found in becoming a part of Alan and your & Jarett’s “Family”, was the total embrace in which you held people of all races, cultures and beliefs. That Dr. King would have left such a lasting impression on you is so typical. I love how real and human you’ve made him without taking away one iota of his greatness. Thank you for this and all your words.

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