On this day, 20 January 2014, when we reflect upon and celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I want to express how his sacrifice paved the way for me to see the world. Most people recall that Dr. King gave his life to ensure that ALL people are treated equally. That all people have access to housing, education, healthcare and the basic essentials in life. However, as a result of his marching and sacrifice, I have the ability to see the world. As a woman who travels by herself quite frequently, I took it for granted that I could just hop on a plane and go to europe, the caribbean, or visit the fifty states. But, this weekend, it occurred to me that women did not always enjoy this luxury and, in some countries today, women still have to stay several steps behind a man; cannot drive a car, let alone rent one; and do not have the same freedoms that I have.
Some will say that the women’s suffrage act provided the ability for me to have the opportunity to travel. The women’s suffrage act help give women a voice, but Dr. King’s life of service and ultimate sacrifice helped amplify the voice. Today is a day to give thanks that this man championed the cause of justice for all, knowing that he would not see the fruits of his labor. I must be totally honest and say that I am not willing to lay down my life for another. Sorry, it is just the truth. Unfortunately, although things have improved since Dr. King’s time, we still have much dissension and division in the land that is supposedly “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”.
So, as we reflect on the life of a great man, let us not take for granted these freedoms that are afforded to us as women. Yes, it is well documented that women continue to make 75 cents to a man’s dollar in the workplace, but strides have been made. If we continue to live out the dream that Dr. King so eloquently spoke of more than fifty years ago, who knows where we can go— together. If we continue to give peace a chance, maybe our middle eastern sisters will no longer have to sit in the back of the car and they too can have the option to travel and see the world from the front of the vehicle.
Dr. King, rest in peace and thank you for your sacrifice.