January 18th is Martin Luther King Day. We honor the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For his birthday, the AIDS.gov Black Voices bloggers share reflections on their favorite quote from Dr. King as inspiration for our work towards an AIDS-free generation. We are also using the power of social media to visually extend the reach of their motivation. Follow us on Instagram , Facebook and Twitter and share these uplifting thoughts with our community .
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin L. King Jr.
This is my favorite quote by the late Martin Luther King, Jr,. because it reminds me to continue to check myself whenever I feel frustrated or angry with people, my community, and the world when it comes to how I am treated as a black man, but more specifically as a gay man living with HIV. Sometimes I have to check my emotions and mood at the door, because coming from a negative, antagonistic place will never produce progressive results.
“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” -Martin L. King, Jr.
Peace is the vehicle rather than the destination. Often we lose sight of the real challenges we face as a human race. Many are working to obtain their own definition of world peace, when peace is something that must be sought after personally, and then used as a tool to create a structure of class, racial, gender, and sexual equality. The goal is not peace—it is equity. Before our fight to obtain equity, we must find peace within ourselves, because that is the only way to combat issues of social justice, just as Dr. King did.
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” -Martin L. King, Jr.
As a public health professional, I have always been motivated by this quote. Ensuring a healthy community should be at the forefront of any justice movement. We have to be diligent in our efforts to make sure that everyone—no matter their race, socioeconomic status, or birth origin—is able to have access to quality health care. Healthcare must not be an option only for a select few. I honor Dr. King for his acknowledgement of this fact, which we should hold dear in society and through governance.
Anthony Roberts Jr.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
This quote resonates with me, as it provides hope when there is none and encourages me to keep fighting and praying for better days. Despite not having a cure for HIV/AIDS, we have to have faith that we can eventually create one. If you have HIV/AIDS, you must also have faith that you can live a fruitful life regardless of being positive. Therefore, I have faith that we can eventually have an AIDS-free generation.
“Even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures; sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.” –Martin L. King, Jr.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s entreaty is a stark reminder that living a full life means living with purpose and passion and that we can make a positive difference in the lives of others no matter our position in society. So often we become fixated on doing something “big” or “innovative” when doing just one small thing from a place of deep love and passion is more than enough.
‘”Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”- Martin L. King, Jr.
Every morning, before I tackle the day, I ask myself how I can be of service to someone else. It can be something as small as listening to a loved one vent or as large as purchasing a home for your beloved Mother. What I’ve learned through Martin’s civil rights advocacy work in the 60’s is that it doesn’t matter how big or small the deed; what matters most is that you were selfless in helping someone else.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends!”–Martin L. King Jr.
As we commemorate the legacy of a man who used his massive voice to cure injustice, I believe that, in many cases, silence is a form of both injustice and consent. In these words, I hear MLK speaking to the inevitability of struggle and to the power of having a dependable support structure. I understand these words to mean the enemy is “self-employed,” and his actions may harm but are forgettable. However, we all must be mindful of those in our inner circle, because the betrayal of a friend stings much worse than a naysayer. False friends are, in fact, enemies we’ve employed, having ignored or been blinded by their falsehood, hoping they would support us.
Each who shared above are part of our Black Voices Blogger series and use new media to reach to their networks. We learn from our colleagues & hope you find the lessons learned they share in the Black Voices blogs useful.
Are you using new media to share your thoughts on MLK day or to share your favorite Dr. King quote and how it inspires you?