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White granite memorial to Martin Luther King Jr., D.C. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

Most dramatic sculpture in monument-loaded Washington, D.C. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

We’re honoring Martin Luther King Jr. across the United States this week — tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of his I Have A Dream speech.

No one can be unmoved by that rhetoric.

A half-century later, his vision has proved stronger than many of his most fervent supporters hoped.

Yet we still have a long way to go to fight oppression, and to recognize equality for all — true equality — in this country.

I am grateful for the example of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and his inspiration.  I am grateful to read American history, and learn how his civil rights movement emboldened others, around the world, to use non-violence to fight for freedom and equality.

I am grateful for the way Dr. King transformed the U.S., and transforms it still.  True, his mission is incomplete, but it is up to us — “we, the people” to heed his words from August 28, 1963:  “We cannot walk alone.  We cannot turn back.

Tens of thousands of Americans marched on Washington on Saturday, recreating the famous March on Washington, led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years ago.  They get it.  They understand that King’s call for justice and democracy — two words carved prominently in his memorial in Washington, D.C. — still rings today.

Working for social justice didn’t begin, or end, with Rev. King.  As long as voting rights are threatened in this country, we have work to do.

Celebrating my first anniversary as an American citizen this month, I am committed to social justice and working to broaden and protect voting rights.

I am lifted by Rev. Martin Luther King’s message of love and hope. Those two words are carved in white granite at the King Memorial in Washington, D.C.  To read them at that place of peace is to truly believe the minister’s message, that hope transcends despair.

(For me, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. is the most powerful sculpture in a city of monuments.  One block of white granite depicts the Mountain of Despair that confronted Dr. King; the other, 30-feet-tall sculpture of the man, is carved from the Stone of Hope.  Both are phrases from his I Have A Dream speech.)

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