Recognizing the real Dr. King
1/20/2022, 6 p.m.
As we commemorate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., let us remember all that he stood for and all that he fought against.
The sanitized, watered-down recollection of Dr. King, popular among many, is wholly divorced from the reality of his life. He was a freedom fighter who knew struggle, a visionary who pushed forward against seemingly impossible odds and a truth teller who challenged entrenched power.
Yes, his was a life of service. But his service was about activism — an engaged leadership that brought our country closer to its stated ideals.
Dr. King’s activism taught us that those who care about freedom must take action to shake loose equality from whatever stands in the way, including cynicism and complacency with the status quo.
In that spirit, and on this day of remembrance, we will redouble our efforts to defend voting rights and save our democracy.
Although lawmakers are at an impasse on critical voting rights legislation, we will not allow them to be satisfied with the status quo or comfortable in hiding behind arcane procedural rules or traditions that hurt the cause of justice. We will not stop agitating, mobilizing and fighting for our rights and we call on all people of conscience to join us in this fight.
Today of all days, let us together embrace the spirit of activism.
The writer is president and executive direc- tor of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.