King’s dream lives, but we need more soldiers in the fight, by Dr. E. Faye Williams

1/18/2024, 6 p.m.
For those who rejoiced when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, they must be disappointed ...
Dr. E. Faye Williams

For those who rejoiced when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, they must be disappointed to know that we still celebrate the work Dr. King did to make this a better world.

Some thought that killing The Dreamer would kill his dream of a better world for all of us.

I’ll be the first to admit that we still have a long way to go to realize Dr. King’s dream, but for those who loved and admired him, we’re still on the battlefield to make this a better world.

Every year on Jan. 15, people brave the ice, wind and snow to hear somebody talk about this man. It’s funny that Dr. King was a paper boy when he was a child, and at that time, he wanted to be a firefighter. In his young life, he knew that Black people and white people did not have the same rights. That didn’t cause him to hate white. He worked for change.

Thankfully, there were and still are people other than Black people who continue to work for justice and equal rights and opportunities for all.

We also honor them when we honor Dr. King.

We still have a lot of work to do. Many of our people who live better today than they did while Dr. King was with us, don’t understand that that Dr. King and other civil and human rights workers helped make their lives better. It’s a tragedy that so many see Jan. 15, the day of Dr. King’s birth, as a day off work and nothing more.

While we honor Dr. King, let us take the time to honor other soldiers who worked along with him. Let us remember Dr. C.T. Vivian, Dr. Joseph Lowery, Dr. Ralph Abernathy, Coretta Scott-King, Dick Gregory, Bayard Rustin, Wyatt T. Walker, Amelia Boynton, Fannie Lou Hamer, Medgar and Charles Evers, Viola Liuzzo, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Myrlie Evers and more.

Like Dr. King, these people risked their lives for us. Advancements were made in civil and human rights because of their struggles and commitment. They worked to end white supremacy and various forms of discrimination. So did younger civil rights activists such as Eleanor Holmes Norton, Johnny Ford, Jesse Jackson, A.J. Cooper, Julian Bond, Deacons for Defense and countless others.

Where are soldiers like them today who will work to honor Dr. King and others who gave their all for our benefit? Once in a while, we see someone who understands that Dr. King’s work is not finished.

Few people are still giving their all to make things better for all of us, but where are the great numbers of our people that we desperately need?

Wherever you are, you need to come home, stop fighting each other, and start fighting for each other.

You need to work for Unity in our Community as the Rev. Oliver Buie reminds us.

You need to join the work of people such as Bishop William Barber, Dr. Franklyn Malone, William McMurray (owner of the The American RAC, a gun-storage device) and longtime Tuskegee mayor, Johnny Ford.

It’s time to step up to convince our people that, if they do nothing else, they must vote in 2024!

The writer is president of The Dick Gregory Society and president emerita of the National Congress of Black Women