A Mitzvah in Honor of Dr. King

This month, we remember Dr. Martin Luther King. Let’s use the opportunity to help fulfill his dream.

Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel, Memphis Tennessee. A nation reels at the news. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been murdered.

Today, the site of this national trauma houses the National Civil Rights Museum, which I had the privilege to tour last month, together with my family. From room to room, we traced the history of African Americans in the U.S., from slave origins to newfound freedom in the wake of the Civil War. From the euphoria that reconstruction brought to the rescission of rights through Jim Crow laws. Separate but equal became the law of the land, even as the land was far from equal. We read of the terrorism of white mobs and their indiscriminate lynching of blacks. We saw the charred, bombed-out remains of a city bus, and relived the race wars of the 50s and 60s.

Approaching the room that documented the March on Washington, a voice rang out, the familiar stentorian call to action: “I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation….” And of course, “I have a dream today.”

It is riveting to this day, the message of hope. Yet recent news has shown that the dream remains unfulfilled. This month, we remember Dr. Martin Luther King. For many, it is a day off from school or from work.

I ask that this year you take the opportunity to reflect, and to do a mitzvah. It could be anything, large or small, that helps a fellow person, and brings about greater equality. Let me make a suggestion: CBJ is once again participating in a book drive that morning, Monday, January 19, at 10:00 a.m. Please come and help out.

In his final speech, delivered the night before his death, King brings to mind Moses:

[God]’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.

May these words be words of prophecy for all of us.