Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 17, 2022


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking into microphone at March on Washington

Anodyne quotations and declarations seem to pervade the remembrances of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birth. Many institutions and lawmakers, across the political spectrum, will purport to celebrate Dr. King’s life while doing nothing to emulate his work. In 2010 at the famed Ebenezer Baptist Church, Professor and Black Radical Tradition scholar Dr. Cornel West decried this “Santa-Clausification” of Martin Luther King: “I don’t want to sanitize Martin Luther King. I don’t want to deodorize Dr. Martin Luther King. I don’t want to disinfect Dr. Martin Luther King, and we’re not gonna domesticate Dr. King.” 

Instead – today we celebrate the life of a fearless, unflinching warrior for righteousness and justice. He would recognize all too well today’s rising white supremacy, deepening inequality, and unabashed voter suppression — all symptoms of the deep-seated, systemic racism that still pervades American society. 

These challenges require collective action committed to Dr. King’s legacy of radicalism. At NYLPI, we follow the leadership of those most impacted by the intersecting crises of our time. Together, we must continue fighting the good fights, getting into the good trouble, and embarking on the good work necessary for the uncompromising pursuit of justice and lived equality. 

We hope you will join us in the struggles to ensure that the long arc does indeed bend towards justice.

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