To me MLK day is a day of remembrance, refection and action. Growing up as a teenager in the 1960’s, even though I was young and lived a sheltered life, I remember the Civil Rights Movement. I can recall watching TV and listening to my uncles who would gather under a tree sipping on juice after a long day’s work and discuss the Civil Rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was a confusing time for me not being able to understand why I, or anyone else, had to be subjected to different standards because of the color of their skin or just because they were different.
As I grew older and was introduced to my environment and reading about MLK the man and his beliefs, I came to the realization that he was not just an ordinary person. He had the perseverance to bring or the ability to help “change” come about. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the greatness “Change Agents” to walk the face of the earth. MLK was not only for Civil Rights issues but he fought peacefully for all social injustice. He was loved and respected throughout the world. He was a selfless person. He gave all he had of himself and his life to better mankind.
Like MLK, today I truly feel blessed to be a foot soldier for the Drug & Recovery Community. My life is now dedicated to giving back and advocating for stigma reduction, public policy issues, treatment, prevention and recovery support services, for individuals with drug and alcohol addiction and for their family members.
Today I feel just as MLK, that there are still too many causes for one to advocate for or to speak out about in this world. For one to live their life without speaking on a cause is a life wasted. As I’ve become older I sometimes think about what I would like my legacy to be. There are many quotes used from MLK, today for me it’s from“The Drum Major Instinct”.
“If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. Every now and then I wonder what I want them to say…I’d like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody. I want you to say that day, that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say, on that day, that I did try, in my life, to visit those who were in prison. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.” -Excerpt from the MLK speech “The Drum Major Instinct” (1968).
What would you like your legacy to be?
Fred Martin, a person in long term recovery
PRO-ACT Philadelphia Project Coordinator
Looking for an opportunity to volunteer on MLK day of service? Join PRO-ACT in revitalizing the streets of Lehigh Avenue. Click here for details.