“Wait.” “This is not your time.” “Not this way.” “Go home.” “Unwise.”
We are most fortunate for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s urgency in his mission of non-violent direct action, which disrupted the institutional bigotry and hate plaguing our country in the 1960s. Despite sentiments like those above uttered by onlookers - some likely well meaning and some not so well meaning - Dr. King remained resolved and committed to the mission of equality and his dream of universal prosperity.
Western Massachusetts has a particularly special relationship with, and a unique duty to protect, the dream of Dr. King. It was here, in Springfield, Mass. in 1964, that, in the face of death threats from the public and harassment by the American government, Springfield College bestowed upon Dr. King an honorary doctorate and welcomed his presentation of the commencement for that year’s graduating class.
Dr. King’s courageous decision to come to Western Massachusetts, at great risk to himself and his family, is not lost on those of us who live and work here. We are inspired to honor Dr. King’s courage by allowing our own courage to shine. Today, things may feel dark at times, as they undoubtedly did 54 years ago. Expressions of racism, hatred and bigotry and the introduction of policies reflecting such intolerance coming from the highest offices of our government has caused anxiety, feelings of hopelessness and confusion among many. Now more than ever, we must channel that darkness into the light of activity by calling upon the examples of our ancestors who did not relent on their dream for our future.
Dr. King’s dream of racial harmony and American prosperity is just as relevant in 2018 as it was in 1964. It remains our obligation to aggressively pursue such prosperity for ourselves and future generations of Americans. I have every confidence that together, we will.
In love and solidarity,
Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, Candidate for the First Congressional District - Massachusetts.
January 15, 2018