Did 2018 honor MLK’s legacy?

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Did 2018 honor MLK’s legacy?

Photo by Freepik

Photo by Freepik

Photo by Freepik

Nicole Boutsikaris

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America is a nation founded on the principles of equality, fundamental human rights and individual empowerment. Despite this mantra, our nation has experienced repeated incidents of intolerance of various groups—one of the most famous being racism towards African Americans. The Civil Rights Movement that followed in the 1960s, although composed of great hardship and struggle, achieved progress and strength for the nation.

The person most accredited for this achievement is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who preached about the rampant prevalence of hatred, prejudice and animosity for various groups in America. To resolve this, King most famously noted that “hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

King would be gravely disappointed to see that his messages have begun to die as mass incidents of hatred have permeated throughout our nation in recent months.

Within the past year, America has been devastated by a multitude of severe and deadly hate crimes—one of the most severe being the anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh this past October. This devastating attack was the culmination of a continued increase of anti -Semitic crimes in recent years.

Although America has the ability to limit feelings of hatred and animosity, our progress is obstructed by the leaders of our nation. In response to the Pittsburgh shooting, President Trump said, “It looks definitely like it’s an anti-Semitic crime, and that is something you wouldn’t believe could still be going on.”

Trump’s inability to recognize the increase in hatred towards those of the Jewish faith has impeded the country from taking action, allowing these negative sentiments to continue. In this case, hatred is not the only sentiment creating damage—it is also ignorance. In the words of King himself, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance.”

King not only preached about tolerating and accepting all individuals, but creating bonds with those who come from different backgrounds despite our afflictions toward them. King notes that in order for society to evolve, we must find a method “which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.”

Although King’s words are focused on building strong relationships, the American government is more focused on tearing them down. President Trump instituted a government shutdown on Dec. 22, 2018 in order to pass legislation for border security and more importantly, funding for his wall that will keep the immigrants from Mexico out, or as he calls them, “animals” from the other side. Trump and the Americans in agreement with his statements are perpetuating a decline in unity and stunting the progress of our nation with these hateful sentiments.

With MLK Day approaching, we must take special care in recognizing King and spreading his messages of tolerance, acceptance and understanding. Although there were various incidents in 2018 that infected our nation with hatred, in 2019 we must continue to drive out the darkness with light and resistance.