Martin Luther King Day of Remembrance

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Every third Monday in January, the United States observes the birthday of the Honorable Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a National day of remembrance.

We would have a difficult time finding someone in America who is not familiar with Dr. King’s heroism, bravery, and the sacrificial life he led in the name of equality and the protection of civil rights.  There have been countless books, movies, and documentaries written about Dr. King and there is hardly a city in the country that doesn’t have a street, avenue, or boulevard named after the pioneer of the civil rights movement.  The story of his life and his selfless crusade is written in history books and will be a part of school curricula for future generations.  There are libraries, a National Park, museums, and in his hometown, The King Center – all erected in his honor and for his legacy to live on.

I ask you today, are we respectfully honoring Dr. King and all of the sacrifices he made for us?  Dr. King’s teachings addressed the value of what we now recognize as diversity, long before we had even heard of it and he fought for the rights of mankind when it was dangerous for minorities to advocate for themselves.  He put his life on the line, countless times during a period when our country was not accepting of desegregation and racial discrimination and deadly hate crimes were the norm.

Many would say that we’ve come a long way and that may be true; but what is not debatable is that there is much work to be done.  People often say they don’t make leaders like Dr. King anymore, but I see a new generation of leaders emerging.  Unfortunately, they are assembling out of necessity; as a result of incivility that has prompted movements to bring these injustices to awareness.  Nonetheless, everyday citizens are speaking out as young as high schoolers.  It is unfortunate that circumstances such as these are the motivation behind citizens carrying the torch of Dr. King.  However, they are showing up and showing out with true MLK grit and passion.  Citizens are demonstrating an understanding that they hold the key to change by showing up at voting polls and forming peaceful protests for change around the country.  I think Dr. King would approve.

For the past 50 years, the mission of Federally Employed Women (FEW) has been aligned with Dr. King’s work, as our founders recognized the need to assemble to advocate for women’s rights in the Federal government.  I hope you will take this National Day of Remembrance to reflect on why you joined FEW and how you can help the organization meet its goals.  It is the vision of our National President Karen Rainey that each member Sours to New Heights as we continue to address issues that affect women and their families.  For the next 50 years and beyond, our success depends on you because we need strong leaders with the determination and drive of Dr. King to help us continue our mission so that future generations will know that their predecessors cared enough to lay a foundation for equality and fairness.  So they may live in a country where people do not judge one another based on the color of their skin or their gender or who they love.  I too have a dream and that is for each member to realize her (or his) potential and have access to the same opportunities as everyone else.

FEW joins forces with  national organizations calling for Hill Staff diversity.  Read the letter here.


Patrice Wilson is the Vice President for Diversity. To learn more about this focus area contact: diversityVP@few.org.