Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day has been observed on the third Monday of every January in the U.S., since 1983. A spokesperson, and a community leader of the 1960’s before his assassination in 1968, he fought for justice for his people, and on a national level, which can serve to remind us why we are here on this earth.
“I say to you, this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and precious to you that you will die for, then you aren’t fit to live.
You may be 35 years old, as I happen to be, and one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause, But you refuse to do it because you are afraid.
You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab or shoot you or bomb your house. So you refuse to take a stand.
Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety, but you are just as dead at 35 as you would be at ninety.
And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit. You died when you refused to stand up for right. You died when you refused to stand up for truth. You died when you refused to stand up for justice.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. From the sermon “But, If Not” delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on November 5, 1967.