By Maria de Lourdes Campos |Staff Writer|
As the first week of the winter quarter is underneath our belts, many of us might be surprised to know that we don’t have class on Monday in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, but great men warrant great observance.
The reason why we celebrate Dr. Marin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is to pay homage to a man who not only wrote the “I Have A Dream” speech to end racism, but who also taught us the values of courage, compassion, humility, and dignity in a time where our country was racially divided amongst the Anglo-sax and the “negros.”
King was more than just a great man who taught us humility. He was a man of God, who used his Baptist ministry as a means to teach the value of racial equality in a time where racial segregation was at an all time high.
He believed that it was God’s will for us to be together as a nation and not divided.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. modeled Mahatma Gandhi’s approach of peaceful protest and non-violence to bring awareness to the nation, who seemed oblivious as to what, when, and where acts of racial violence and separatism were taking place in the South.
This approach helped King to initiate the Montgomery Bus Boycott, to show the nation that in solidarity, we are all brothers and sisters who deserve to be treated and respected as who we are.
Today we celebrate him, but many fail to realize that what he did for this nation forever changed us as a people.
We are all now blessed to enjoy his vision, when not that long ago we weren’t considered each other’s equal.
At CSUSB, 57 percent of students are Hispanic, 15 percent are white, 6 percent are African-American, and Asian and foreign students account for 13 percent of the overall student body according to CSUSB’s Office of Institutional Research.
That makes this school a melting pot of different ethnic backgrounds all coming together as one, for the sole purpose of an education.
With the student body accounting for a wide range of different ethnic backgrounds, we’re a living testament of his vision.
Education was pivotal for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s doctrine, but how is his legacy represented within our educational system today?
Stephanie Thompson, a CSUSB student models what Dr. King once stated in his, “ I Have a Dream,” speech which states, “ I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Thompson said Dr. King’s speech is her motto for life and that we see representations of him all the time.
“Just look at the student body, we are all different, come from diverse backgrounds, and get to experience diversity, which is what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for,” said Thompson. “For us to be equal.”
We remember him today with great respect and admiration, but we should never forget that he was a man of God who used his Baptist ministry to advocate nonviolence and peaceful protests as a means to fight for justice, peace, and equality that would forever change the world that we live in today.