Dr. King, in his letter from a Birmingham jail, said that “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

His ‘Nonviolence: The Only Road to Freedom’ tells us that a world of true cohabitation “will be accomplished by persons who have the courage to put an end to suffering by willingly suffering themselves rather than inflict suffering upon others. It will be done by rejecting the racism, materialism and violence that has characterized Western civilization and especially by working toward a world of brotherhood, cooperation and peace.”

And of course, Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech echoes throughout our minds and our hearts almost half a century later, reminding us that “we must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

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The past is prologue, helping us to understand not only where we were, but where we are today and where we are headed tomorrow as a people and a nation.

We look to the future knowing that we have accomplished much since the days of unchecked and socially-tolerated violence against people because of the color of their skin, but cognizant of how far we still have to go to continue the work of perfecting our union.

On this 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and in the spirit of renewal in a New Year, let us recommit ourselves to his principles and make sure we conduct ourselves in a manner befitting his expectations of us.