Dr. King: We need his inspirational methods to progress

Racial equality. Human dignity. Peace.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., for whom this day is named, stood for all those things. He did it with his words that still inspire today. He did it with actions that led to change that is having ramifications to this day.

Was it enough? Certainly not. This country has come so far since the days of King’s speeches and actions.

In fact, in an age where the mistakes of our country’s past seem to be emphasized much more than its advancements, the advancements we have made as a fair and equal society seem to be downplayed.

But none of us can argue that the complete path to equality and justice for all has been completely traveled.

None of us should be satisfied that human treatment is never based anymore on self-created barriers based on prejudices.

We are not there yet.

But we are, for the most part, progressing. And the lessons of Dr. King should be used by all of us as a barometer on how we progress and how we backtrack in our striving for a collective heart that guarantee equality and justice for all.

We progress the most when the path to gaining ground is paved with peaceful methods. We regress when we resort to conflict, often violent, to make our points.

Few people have had more impact with their words and actions than Dr. King. That’s because he executed those words and actions with dignity and grace.

His words and actions did not carry with them chairs thrown through windows, violent demonstrations with a goal of confrontation with police, or obvious attempts to turn people against each other based on race, creed, or economic class.

And because he spoke with dignity, a nation listened and change happened. Of course, it never happens quickly enough on matters of social justice, but there has been significant progress if people will just look at history and see how much is different.

To honor Dr. King’s memory and his correct goals, there needs to be more. And his way of getting to those goals needs to become the prevailing method again for our social and racial progress to reach its full potential.