It seems cliché at this point — “King’s vision lives on” — but 40 years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the American public needs this reminder. Truth is, King’s infamous “I have a dream” speech rings as true now as it did in 1968.
We’ve come a long way since segregation and the like, but the battle for equality hasn’t reached its happy ending. Racism, bigotry, sexism and negative stereotypes continue to permeate into popular culture, in schools, institutions and, more specifically, CSU and Fort Collins.
It hasn’t been 10 years since Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten and killed in our own backyard. The many advocacy offices on campus – GLBT Student Services, Black Student Services, El Centro, among others – fought tooth and nail to bring a support network to CSU students. And they’re still fighting the sting of an intolerant community.
Dr. King was killed for his dream, but he was no titan sent to rid the world of hate. He was a man. It is perhaps the deification of his life that allows us to so easily take for granted his work and that of his supporters. He was a young man when he started his journey, and was ultimately assassinated at the age of 39, nothing god-like about that. He had troubles, relationships and hobbies, like any of us.
So, let King’s life serve as a reminder but also as a lesson that great men and women choose to be such. If we as students choose to rise above hate – well, there’s nothing cliché about that.