Today marks the 27th year of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Having a national holiday named after yourself does not come without reason. With a prominent role in attaining equal rights for African Americans, Martin Luther King, Jr. was the main figure of the Civil Rights Movement.
Despite having a non-violent approach, MLK Jr. was met with much violent resistance. And unfortunately, he was shot and killed in 1968 due to his strong and successful involvement. Sadly, this shows us that even non-violence begets more violence. The main reason for this, in my opinion, is because people, even today, roughly half a century after the movement, are constantly unwilling to accept others who are seemingly different than they are, when really we are all humans who long for the same things.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once stated,
“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
Forming an opinion about others when we meet them, or sometimes even before we meet them, is an innate process. But retaining the same static opinion about them over time is a conscious choice due to our unwillingness to get to know them. So, what we can learn from MLK, Jr. is to have an open mind, interact, and, most importantly, approach each other with non-hostility. Doing this will, hopefully, prevent us from wanting to deny each other of the same rights and opportunities, and actually get along.