Promise of rights in jeopardy


Dear editor,

This is not the best of times, nor is it the worst of times yet, although we are on a downward trajectory; and if we don’t change course, the worst of times is imminent.

In the 56 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the vitriol has propelled us to insurrection, mass murder and xenophobia. The promise of our inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is in jeopardy.

One of history’s greatest orators and the voice of reason gave us some guidelines. His birthday is now a national holiday. But his philosophies, espoused by social activists throughout the country, appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

As we commemorate MLK Day 2024, we could do our collective selves a favor if only we would rely upon the wisdom of Dr. King, who fought so tirelessly for social change. In fact, he was in Memphis, Tenn. On that fateful day in April 1968 to encourage sanitation workers to stick to their laurels and demand change. He paid the ultimate price for his activism. King’s assassination shocked the nation and unleashed a relentless cycle of gun violence which plagues us even today.

The proliferation of guns in this country has resulted in unprecedented mayhem, a sad commentary which continues to fester long after the death of the civil rights icon. The current cycle of social injustice, mass murders and xenophobia threaten not just people of color but all of society. Dr. King taught us that action is required.

It has been a tradition for the Doña Ana County NAACP to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King. This year’s theme, “Thriving Together,” is an attempt to unite. It is a message of hope. With this theme, we channel the sentiments of Dr. King, who once said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Such empathy and compassion is sorely needed today and can help make our communities a better place to live.

Bobbie Green

President, Doña Ana County NAACP

MLK Day, April 1968