Martin Luther King Jr. fought tirelessly for racial and economic equality. In what is arguably his most famous speech delivered during the March on Washington, he discussed a dream where people are judged for things other than their race and we have achieved racial harmony. It's 2024 and that dream seems to be deferred in a Nation--nay, a World--full of strife. Within America itself we have a man who engages in racist rhetoric leading the shortlist to run for President as a Republican and while I'm not saying everything is Donald Trump's fault by any means, he serves as a prime example and symbol of how messed-up our nation currently is regarding a whole lot of social factors. Worldwide we see Israel at war with Hamas in a battle that has no easy solution with deep roots in racial and religious strife. I could run down a checklist of examples where we've failed to achieve what MLK was aiming for, but this is a day about honoring just how far we have come as well.
It sounds almost defeatist to remark, "Things could be worse," but without people who worked (and continue to work) tirelessly for rights who knows how awful things could be. There is a long, long way to go, but thanks to individuals such as MLK, Bayard Rustin, Rosa Parks, John Lewis, Malcolm X (a name not without some controversy to include), and more we as a society have progressed and have a blueprint to continue getting better. Whether we follow that blueprint or end up tearing down what we have accomplished becomes the big question.