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MLK Day 2023

Here’s my short reflection on the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King Jnr for MLK Day of Service and what it means for me in our Australian context.

Dr Martin Luther King Jnr. 1964 Press Conference. Image: Marion S. Trikosko

#MLKDay in the USA is marked as a day of service. That means, going out of your way to serve others.

This fitting tribute to Dr Martin Luther King Jnr’s life and legacy demonstrates the intrinsic relationship of our words and our actions. If we use words of hate, then our actions will demonstrate hate. If we use words of love, then our actions will also demonstrate love. If we use words of peace, hope and service, then our actions will show them.

The context of Dr. Martin Luther King in the USA was polarised, tense and meant danger for anyone speaking out. His messages cut though to inspire people then and remains critical for race relations today. This is true for all of us outside the USA context as well.

For me, the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King Jnr speaks to how we take ownership of what we have inherited in race relations in Australia.

We should accept the difficult memories and their ongoing impacts, we should have tough conversations about how it all started and what we can do about it now. We should also believe in the highest ideals and possibilities of who we could be, beyond the despair and cynicism, and claiming love over hate.

MLK Day challenges me to look deeply and critically in the face of the despair of our times and meet with equal force of hope and love. I am challenged by what my own words and actions demonstrate about my beliefs and resolve. I am challenged to think, say, do and be better.

Happy MLK Day 2021. May you find joy and peace in serving others.

Yours in service,

Mark YP