Leffler, W. K., photographer. (1963) Martin Luther King with leaders at the March on Washington. Washington D.C, 1963. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2013649720/.
Today, we are celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929. In December of 1955 when he was a young minister, he got involved in the Montgomery, Alabama citywide bus boycott. At the beginning of the 1960s he used his voice and his talent to galvanize individuals to speak out against segregation. In his famous ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech, he laid out a vision for a better world. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis Tennessee, where he was there supporting striking sanitation workers.
As I thought about Dr. King, I thought about how he maximized his gifts. He used his voice, and his ability to champion his cause. He suffered criticism, was beaten, and jailed for believing in his dream. However, he pushed through despite the challenges. His willingness to utilize his gifts, has become a blessing to us all.
As you celebrate him today, I want you to think about your gifts. Are you maximizing your potential? Are you using your speaking skills, writing skills, and music ability? Are you being the Change Agent you always knew you could be, or are you letting others define your destiny? Recognizing your gifts is tough and maximizing them is even harder. But just like Dr. King, you must maximize your gifts, so you can maximize your dreams. Remember, when you maximize your dream, it can be the blessing that the world is waiting for.
As I close, I leave you with this challenge. Let go of negativity and say no to fear. Start by putting one foot in front of the other, maximize your gifts, and follow your dreams. I believe that 2020 can be the year, where dreams come true.
Dr. Regina Banks-Hall