by Brent Budowsky
Fifty years ago Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the greatest human beings who ever walked the earth, ascended to heaven many decades too soon.
Eleven days ago King’s 9-year-old granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King, marching with students near the place he once marched and speaking with passion near the place he once spoke, gave living proof that King lives today by bringing hundreds of thousands of people to their feet with these words:
“My grandfather had a dream that his four little children will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream that enough is enough. And that this should be a gun-free world — period. Spread the word have you heard, all across the nation, we are going to be a great generation.”
My faith inspires me to believe that as Yolanda said those words to rousing applause, her grandpa was looking down from above with joy, pride and hope.
If King were in Philadelphia next to Thomas Jefferson in July 1776 our Declaration of Independence would almost certainly have proclaimed that “all people are created equal.”
King lives today because he embodies a dream of justice that will never die, which those who march in his footsteps believe must someday be the law of the land and the way of the world.
Last Saturday morning CNN host Victor Blackwell, noting that King’s bust remains in the Oval Office under President Trump as it did under former President Obama, asked Martin Luther King III what inspiration Trump might take from having King’s likeness so near.
Martin Luther King III replied that Trump had also given Pope Francis the gift of his father’s collective writings when they met, but that so far it has brought little inspiration and Trump might consider what King wrote and change some policies accordingly.
King lived at a time when many of his people were denied the right to vote and others were beaten, whipped and murdered for championing the cause. He would have been ecstatic to learn that 40 years after his assassination America would elect Obama as our first black president, a monumental achievement of progress, but appalled to learn that his successor as president would spend years peddling the falsehood that Obama was not a true American, a monumental act of indecency.
King lives today when millions of women march across America demanding their right to be free of abuse and asking to be judged by the content of their character and not the coincidence of their gender. He lives today when millions of students march across the nation, supported and admired by their elders and amazingly respected by many of the leading corporations in the land, demanding they be free of mass murder in their classrooms and aspiring to be the next great generation.
King lives today when the “Dreamers” dream about the country they cherish and yearn to no longer be tormented by the president who once promised to respect them with love, and when all men and women dream of being able to love and marry the person of their choice, and when the victimized dream that all of our people will know that all people are created equal and all lives matter equally.
King lives today when students, women, blacks and others seek to create their own Freedom Summer this year, to battle against voter suppression and register tidal waves of new voters, as men and women who championed civil rights succeeded brilliantly in doing, braving bullets and bombings, beginning in 1964.
King lives today because he was a man of greatness and humanity who championed a timeless cause that is beloved by good people everywhere. He was taken from us much too soon, but we continue his march to justice with his memory and model by our side and in our hearts, today and forever.