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 The Dream is Alive And Well

rev. dr. martin luther king jr. day

33 years ago on this day, we began celebrating the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is impossible to articulate just how great an impact Dr. King had on us as a people. Through both word and deed, Dr. King exemplified the best that humanity has to offer, teaching us to see the humanity in each other in the process.

Throughout my lifetime, I have studied his teaching with great admiration and gratitude. As a young Black man called to serve my community through elected office and ministerial service, I reflect on the difficulties of the present and am reminded how Dr. King explains what it means to truly fight against injustice: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”.

From the banks of the Lincoln Memorial to inside of a cell in Birmingham, Reverend Dr. King lifted up this nation with his words of faith and his vision that America could one day live out the true meaning of it's creed and become a unified nation - where individuals of different races and backgrounds can equally enjoy freedom, tranquility, and the pursuit of happiness. 

His activism is still on display to this day.

Two years ago, millions of Americans banded together and marched on Washington, D.C. for the Women’s March, espousing the nonviolent ideals of Dr. King and the Civil Rights movement.

Two days ago, our Native American brothers and sisters celebrated their heritage during their own Indigenous Peoples March on Washington, D.C.  Despite facing bigotry and hate, nonviolence prevailed.

Yesterday, several instances of blackface emerged and served as a reminder that there is still work to be done.

Today, as we come together to continue our vision of jobs and justice, Dr. King powerfully conveyed that "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

Marching is but one step toward building justice and equity. It must also be met with leadership and political will. Words must be met with actions by our leaders. We must push for effective policies that help lead our young men and women of color into the middle class. 

That is what Jobs and Justice is all about. Connecting our young people to programs like pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships in emerging fields will lift our communities higher.

Dr. King’s bravery and courage showed that we could create change without causing harm to others through the building of coalitions and honest discussion.

Dr. King showed us that regardless of one's age, circumstances, or adversity, each and every human being has the ability to change the world for the better.

That’s why I, Michael Blake, am running for New York City Public Advocate. My aim is to continue the work that was begun 33 years ago.

We will continue to march.

We will continue to legislate, fight and dream.

The dreamer may be gone but the dream is alive and well. Dream well MLK. You have inspired a new generation of dreamers. Long live the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Michael A. Blake