There are many people I’ve grown to revere including Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, Bill Snyder, Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela, but none sit as high on my list as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Growing up I used to adore the man so much I believed German monk Martin Luther was named after the Rev. himself. Although I’m now a bit more educated and understand the difference between the 16th century Protestant Reformation spearhead and the civil rights leader, the latter still has a place in my heart.
Nowadays, politicians and civilians alike quote MLK Jr. in the face of adversity, protest and civil disobedience, hoping to silence the dissent. Unfortunately, his supporters of today forget what he stood for in the past. MLK Jr. did not only speak on nonviolence and love. Yes, the “I have decided to stick with love” quote and the like are beautiful and inspiring, but they don’t represent the whole of what the Rev. fought for. When people disagree with Colin Kaepernick’s silent kneel during the national anthem and berate supporters of BLM during protests, they forget that MLK Jr.’s life was built on activism and civil disobedience. He was put in prison numerous times, beat by police officers, marched through Selma with his brothers and sisters, supported the purpose behind riots and condemned white supremacy and comfortability.
While it’s easy to remember MLK Jr. as the peaceful, loving Rev. today’s America makes him out to be, let us never forget the real issues he stood for. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a civil rights hero who always fought for the people even if it meant spending nights in prison, getting beat by the officers trained to protect the public, losing time with his family and ultimately sacrificing his life. We owe it to him and everything he fought for to remember him accurately. Do not make him out to be a puppet dancing when you don’t try to understand Ferguson, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Minnesota, Charleston, Staten Island, Cleveland and every other city where injustices have occurred. If we alter his memory, we’re dishonoring his legacy.