This weekend, I was honored to attend several observances of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy, including Georgia’s official annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute.

Let Freedom Ring!
Of the many memories and calls to action shared this weekend, I took particular inspiration from Dr. King’s ability to love people even as they exemplify the ugliest sides of humanity.

Dr. King loved with a bravery and fierceness that made no room for hate. And because he loved, it seems to me, he had hope for all of us to be better and do better for each other.

I think of this now as we see partisan politics driving wedges between us. I think of this now as new generations are learning to peacefully demonstrate for change.

We must be mindful that injustice and inequity have never left our communities. They have been there all along, quietly oppressing people of color, people who are poor, people who are new to our country, and other minorities.

For a while, we perhaps became complacent. We saw change, but we, as a society, did not acknowledge how much work is left to be done.

We must expand Medicaid to enable 500,000 more Georgians to access lifesaving healthcare. We must prevent gerrymandering and reform our voting process to make sure every vote counts. We must reform the criminal justice system to prevent unnecessary use of force and racial bias. We must rebuild our public education system to help all of our children get a better chance at fulfilling their potential.

I am not the first and I won’t be the last person to say that we need Dr. King’s legacy now more than ever to help us achieve these changes. We need his wisdom and his commitment to peace.

Most of all, I believe we need his sense of hope.