Today you will hear many quotes from the late great Dr Martin Luther King Jr. I have many of my own personal favorites such as "God is not interested in the freedom of black men or white men or yellow men, God is interested in the freedom of mankind..." and "returning hate for hate only multiplies hate adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars..." and this one, "love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend."
Of course his life's impact was far greater than any recitation or remembrance of his most eloquent quotes, but I think we do him a disservice when we use his quotes to convey anything besides the essence of his life which was service, unity and love for all mankind.
In the late 60's just before his untimely demise, there were two camps in our country fighting for "racial" equality and freedom. One camp was lead by The Black Panther Party
and they pushed for equality via radical and sometimes violent means, "if necessary." And then there was Dr King's camp, speaking of "nonviolence" and "love your enemy" and that we must "learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools." Time has shown and continues to show us which of these methods is best for creating harmony among a divided nation, which we were at the time and which we appear to be today.
Today, however, we have lost the spirit of the message that Dr King espoused.
His message was simply "love" and he knew that would build the unity necessary for us to move forward as one people. As we celebrate what he stood for today, we should remember that the words that we speak or write on this day, should echo in a resounding chord the message of love, peace and the unity of mankind. For this was his life's work and it revealed not only that we could learn to live together as brothers and sisters, but that only this type of love could change human hearts from bitterness to caring and from hatred to sharing.
Today when we remember Dr King, let us do it with a sense of unity and with an intentionality of becoming one. That was his message and today it should be ours.