By Ken Lee
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 19, 2015) — As I reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I am reminded of how far we have come as Americans. Today, we are more diverse and racially integrated than we have ever been as a society. And yet, for all the progress we have made, the color of our skin, our ethnic identities, and our country of origin still dictate the ways in which many of us are treated. There is still much work left to accomplish in order to achieve a society that has eliminated our inequities and treats everyone humanely, respectfully, and equally.
Dr. King left behind a vision that still lives through us every day. As a community of color, our current push for educational access, fair and humane immigration laws, and other systematic reforms; our strategies to change our nation’s laws; and our representation owe much to the legacy of Dr. King and the foundation he built for all communities. His actions paved the way for where we currently stand in this nation, as well as our continued struggle to ensure that all people, regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or skin color are treated fairly in all aspects of our society.
Although his ideas do not seem radical now, they were considered impossible only 50 years ago. As he showed through his work and his life, our fight for justice must not be afraid of causing discomfort or breaking silence in order to address our societal wrongs. So long as there is injustice and inequity, we must continue to advocate for change.
Dr. King once said, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” Here at OCA, we believe in that statement, and we remain committed to the vision laid out for us by Dr. King and other civil rights pioneers. It is why OCA continues to work with all of you to advocate for the progress of civil rights for Asian Pacific Americans. Today we remember Dr. King and his incredible legacy and how it will take each and every one of us to make his dream a reality.
Ken Lee is the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans.