Today, January 18, is Martin Luther King Day. This year there are events before and after this historic day that bring both cheer and gloom.
This year’s MLK day is just a couple of weeks after Georgia elected a black person as a Senator for the first time in U.S. history: Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of late Rev. King’s church in Atlanta.
It is also two days before history will once again be created when Kamala Harris will be sworn in as the first Black, first South Asian and first female Vice President of the U.S. She will be sworn in by the First Latina Supreme Court Justice of the United States of America and these are achievement and an indication of progress of the communities.
However, one incident in the recent past, the Capitol riot, not only marred America’s image and democratic norms but also brought into sharp contrast the gentle manner in which the white supremacist protesters were treated with few arrests being made and many being let off, who just walked away and the harsh manner in which “Black Lives Matter” protesters were rounded up and imprisoned by the authorities. Comparisons have naturally been drawn as there has been a sharp difference in handling protesters.
Dr. Martin Luther King was a progressive leader who brought changes in legislature including the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act. However, systemic racism has not be erased and much progress has to be made.
The pandemic has muted celebrations and all events will be virtual, in all organizations and universities which bear his legacy and celebrate his achievements.