HRC Blog

MLK Day Reflections: Hope

This post comes from the Rev. MacArthur Flournoy, Associate Director of HRC's Religion & Faith Program:

My mother stood in front of the black and white television in our apartment on the evening of April 4, 1968, with tears streaming down her face. Filled with concern, I hesitatingly asked her why the tears. Her response comes to me today as clearly as it did more than forty years ago - “They have killed Dr. Martin Luther King – I thought there was hope for my children, with Dr. King, but they killed my hope today.” 

Fortunately, due to careful parenting and the inspirational legacy of Dr. King captured in his writing, my hope was not assassinated that fateful day in 1968. In fact, hope gives me the faith to look beyond the intersection of poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia and religious bias, and imagine a new reality where people are valued for all of who they are.

In the Letter from the Birmingham Jail, Dr. King speaks to the inter-relatedness of multiple issues of injustice. Even now, there are those who challenge the wisdom of advocating for marriage equality. They contend that to do so is injurious to people of color. But Dr. King addresses their protestations and pens, “I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states . . . Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

As this King Day approaches, I am reminded once more of the inter-relatedness of all forms of injustice. For me, it is not enough to advocate for justice on one front without taking into consideration the inequities & injustice in other areas. Still, I am resolved to say that “hope” was not assassinated in April 1968. My life and work gives me great cause to aspire for a new day – where our hope will inspire us to envision a new reality where all people are valued and esteemed.

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