This week marked the fourth year Blount Countians came together as one to celebrate the life and legacy of one of the greatest Americans to ever live, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The annual Unity Celebration is, and will always be, one of the most special days of the year for me.
If you’ve never been, I encourage you to go next year. I promise it won’t disappoint. Something magical happens when people, young and old, from all walks of life, join together as one. It offers hope, which most days seems completely lost in this world that we are living in today.
I’m like my dad in many ways, the eternal optimist. I’ve always tried to see the good in everything around me. But, if I’m being honest, it seems to be harder to see the good on many days. In so many ways, it seems that this great nation of ours is regressing.
Yes, in so many ways, we’ve made great strides since the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. But, in so many ways, we seem to have made no strides at all.
Many of the things the great Dr. King said 40-plus years ago still ring true. For instance, he once said, “We’ve learned to fly the air like birds, we’ve learned to swim the seas like fish, and yet we haven’t learned to walk the Earth as brothers and sisters.”
Current events tell us that we still have a long way to go before we walk this Earth as brothers and sisters. Hate for those who are different continues to rage.
Yet, I refuse to lose hope. I refuse to believe that there is not more good than evil in this world. I refuse to believe that the hundred or so Blount Countians who come together each January to celebrate unity can’t make a difference. I refuse to believe that hate is greater than love.
Dr. King said, “I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we are moving against wrong when we do it because John was right, God is love. He who hates does not know God, but he who has love has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of the ultimate reality.”
I choose to love. I choose to love each of my brothers and sisters regardless of the color of their skin or where they may come from. We are all human. We are all created in the image of our Creator.
As Dr. King said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
The choice is yours and yours alone. Will you choose to love and truly make this nation great again?