Follow King's Path

January 15, 2012

This weekend across the nation, millions of Americans will reflect upon the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the impact of the Civil Rights Movement. His tireless work pushed our nation forward in promoting equality, civil rights and social justice for every person who lives and works in the United States.

Where have we come as a nation since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law? Those who are franchised, who possess liberty, who have rights and who have a seat at the table may say that we have reached our destination. But those who are disenfranchised, who are oppressed, who are denied equal rights, and who are denied a seat at the table say that we have a long way to go. We are not there yet. There is a long road ahead to replace bigotry, discrimination, greed and oppression with fairness, compassion, inclusion, and liberty.

What have we learned since the days of the Civil Rights Movement? Not enough, if one is to look at the plight of the undocumented immigrants and the failure of the U.S. Congress to address comprehensive immigration reform. Perhaps even less, if one looks at the ill treatment of the CNMI’s legal, long-term foreign workers.

My advice to the foreign workers is not to wait for the next Martin Luther King or the next César Chávez, but to take up the reins yourself if you want to reach the destination in your journey to obtain rights and justice.

Here are some inspirational quotes by D. Martin Luther King, Jr to inspire the foreign workers of the CNMI:

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there "is" such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”

“There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society with a large segment of people in that society who feel that they have no stake in it; who feel that that have nothing to lose. People who have stake in their society, protect that society, but when they don't have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it.”

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”

“There is nothing more majestic than the determined courage of individuals willing to suffer and sacrifice for their freedom and dignity.”

"We shall overcome."

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

“On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" And Vanity comes along and asks the question, "Is it popular?" But Conscience asks the question "Is it right?" And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.”

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

“And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”