A lifestyle of service

Five years ago, our first African-American was elected the 44th president of the United States. Today, as we celebrate President Barack Obama’s second term, we also remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and his dream.

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Yesterday, I attended the annual observance of the King holiday at my alma mater, Kennesaw State University. This year’s guest speaker was the philosophical Dr. Cornel West. I will admit, I am not familiar with any of his works but his thirty minute message was so rich with substance that I was inspired. Dr. West reminded us that Dr. King’s movement was about his fight for freedom, equality and justice for all. We were reminded that Dr. King believed the only way to achieve any of these things was through nonviolence movements. His message of peace and love lives on, but we still have a long way to go.

Even if you didn’t volunteer today, I hope that before you close your eyes for bed, you will ask yourself a serious question Dr. West posed of the crowd last night. “What will be your prolific trek from the womb to the tomb?” What will people remember you by after you die? We know that MLK Jr Day is about “A Day On, Not a Day Off”, but what about making service a lifestyle? As President, Barack Obama can only do so much to immediately affect our world. WE have to possess the desire to revolutionize our communities. And we can.

Pick something, anything. What do you care about? What cause makes you so angry that it incites you to act? Your contribution is not too big or too small. Use whatever talent you have to do good. And even when your works do not receive acknowledgement, press on. Dr. King reminds us that “every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle”. Knowing this, our goal should be to be a part of a greater calling. Martin lived a life of service and died fighting for his cause. We must be willing to do the same. Suffer for something; be remembered for something.

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