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NAACP President's View: On MLK Day, celebrate love, freedom, democracy, goodwill

In "A Letter from a Birmingham Jail" in April 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote, "Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly," and, "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality."

With those words in mind, imagine a society where no one was ridiculed, looked down upon, hurt, or killed because they were different. Imagine people coming together from all walks of life, treating one another with decency and respect no matter their skin color, who they choose to love, and who they truly are.

This ideology has been passed down through generations and should be embraced as the right of passage for everyone. We all know that core values and belief systems are first taught in the home and embedded in all of us at a very young age, shaping the way we think about others and/or how we treat each other.

I challenge all of you to do some soul-searching to examine your thoughts and feelings on your own humanity.

What contribution will you give to abolish racism?

What contribution will you give to abolish cissexism?

What contribution will you give to abolish sexism?

What contribution will you give to abolish bullying?

What contribution will you give to abolish hate crimes?

The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., requires all of us to stand up together and make it loud and clear that hate does not reside in the Twin Ports area.

I want to invite all people of Duluth, Superior, and the surrounding areas to come out and be part of and support the MLK events and celebrations that honor Dr. King's work and legacy. Instead of staying home on Monday, come out to fellowship as we celebrate love, freedom, democracy, and goodwill.

Stephan Witherspoon

Stephan Witherspoon is president of the Duluth branch of the NAACP.