Quality Over Quantity: The Martin Luther King, Jr. Lasting Legacy

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 1/12/2018, 6:13 a.m.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important. “ ...

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important. “ The quality and legacy one’s leaves on Earth is something that has been at the forefront of my mind since 2018 began. We are only 11 days in 2018 and I have been to three funerals with one pending. During their celebration of life affairs, many spoke of the goodness of the decease’s life and the people he/she touched. They spoke of their accomplishments and the people left to cherish their memory. People didn’t relish over the degrees they had, the vehicles they drove or the labels they wore. It was just about how they made people feel and the impression they left.

Dr. King has been dead for 49 years yet the legacy of his life is still reverberating in the souls of many today. His words still ring true. His works still hold meaning. His character is still being emulated by others. His legacy still lingers on. Every year we pause to remember and honor his life as we continue to strive to live in that world he so eloquently spoke of where people are not “judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” And we still couldn’t be further from it.

Our nation is more divided than ever before. Not only are black people in danger but all people. Black men and women are still being judged first, punished second, and killed last by the hands of some police officers. This is making the list that has the names of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Philander Castile, Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, and Michael Brown grow longer each day. Hispanics are being threatened with deportation after living here all their lives and following the rules to become American citizens. While there are still hundreds upon hundreds that sit in jails with their life rotting away for a crime they did not commit.

Beyond the color lines are the gender equality issues with women not just receiving lower wages for the same work as men but being sexually harassed in order to work. As a result, many have spent years in silence taking the abuse, until some found their voice with the #MeToo movement. Other Americans are being judged simply for who they love and denied certain rights that should be privy to all Americans.

This is a mere drop in the bucket of the unjust, unfair practices that plague our nation. I don’t have the answer to how we can become a more peaceful, perfect nation. However, I do know that it is going to take more than just one person if we are to ever live in a world of which King dreamed. It will take more than just one voice. It will take more than just one foot soldier.

The quality of one’s life is based on the impact that one can make today and every day that they have breath in their body. Who will use the years that they have to make an impact to last decades as King once did?