Martin Luther King Jr. day for many of us is just another holiday. Many of us post a photo or quote on social media in commemoration of Doctor King and his work and impact on the civil rights movement and then promptly return to our everyday lives as if it were any other ordinary day. To those of us who do, we're lucky to have this privilege of indifference - the privilege of being able to live in a world without fear of prejudice, discrimination, or marginalization. A privilege that many still do not have.

Delving into a debate on the issue of privilege, I feel, is a fruitless effort at this juncture for the intended purpose of this particular article. The only reason I bring it up is to acknowledge that this privilege, in fact, does exist. I bring it up for you to also acknowledge that it does, in fact, still exist even after centuries of revolution and progress. The strife, the battle still exists and wages on because despite how far we've come there is more progress to be made. All of us are necessary participants in the aid of this all-important movement of progression.

Instead of getting into a philosophical debate, why don't we answer just one question today: What is it that I can do to help aid in the progression of equality for all? What is it that I can contribute to making Doctor King's dream a reality?

First and foremost, the issue with equality is the illusion that it's been universally accomplished. The first step is acknowledgment - the acknowledgment that there is an imbalance of equality in the world.

Secondly, is the realization that awareness is not enough. Making a social media post and moving on is not enough. Awareness is not nearly as valuable without action or contribution.

So naturally, thirdly, comes action and contribution. This is the step we tend to grapple with most. Taking action is always the most difficult step in a process. Committing to actually doing something is hard for many. However, making a tangible contribution is the vital key to making a lasting change. Here are some notable steps to take in making this change last:

  • Become an ally.
  • Get to know people and the struggles of those people and then offer support. Lend your voice only to elevate theirs in being heard. Offer your services, your time, and your money. Get involved.

  • Listen and allow space.
  • Listen. Always listen. Sometimes we have a tendency to say someone is always free to speak when what we really mean is, you're free to speak if I anticipate that I will like or agree with what you have to say. Regardless of your feelings, every person has the right to share their story, their truth. They have the right to exist as equally as anyone else. Allow minorities to have their spaces, their conversations, their own voices - their own experience in which you are not made a part.

  • Volunteer in a way that directly impacts minority communities.
  • Find organizations in your cities that help minorities or where most of the population the organization helps are minorities. Volunteer - offer your time, resources, and money in the fight for equality.

  • Use your platforms.
  • Utilize your platforms in boosting the voices and reach of the minority communities. Feature people of color on your blogs, social media, or websites. Share their projects, businesses, and art. Use your audience to extend reach.

  • Become an activist.
  • Attend events in solidarity. Contribute to campaigns organized by minority leaders. Hit the pavement. Demonstrate.

    Bear in mind that this is an extremely simplified guide to advocating and pushing for change. This is just the tip of the iceberg when discussing issues as delicate, profound, and crucial as these. I am no expert in history, or in cultural or race relations. The answer to balancing equality in this nation does not lie within this article - this article is just a jumping off point, a way for a person to simply answer the question:

    What is it that I can do to help aid in the progression of equality for all?

    Once you obtain the short answer to the question, the desire for the rest of the answer follows. Research, converse, explore and above all, listen.

    "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." - Martin Luther King Jr.

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