A worthy legacy to promote action

During a recent visit to Nashua, the Rev. Willie Bodrick II paid homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the civil rights leader’s birthday weekend, telling a packed church it is time to make his dream a reality.

King’s "I Have A Dream" speech more than a half century ago was a call for justice, Bodrick said, but the times require more than just cheap words.

"Our actions are the tools that will bring (our dreams) to life," Bodrick, the associate pastor at Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury, Mass., said Saturday evening. "Too many people have become silent about things that matter in this country."

People need to stand up and work together for what is just, he continued, to have their voices heard. Quoting King, Bodrick told the hundreds in attendance, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

In New Hampshire, this is only the 17th Martin Luther King Day. Many states quickly made Martin Luther King Jr. Day a holiday in 1983 after Republican President Ronald Reagan signed it into law; New Hampshire was a longtime holdout, although Nashua has long been ahead of the curve.

The First Baptist Church, where Bodrick gave his speech on Saturday, was the first church in New Hampshire to honor King on his birthday in 1982. Mayor Jim Donchess, during his first tenure in the corner office, recognized King’s birthday in 1988.

And with our city, state and country so politically divided, we need King’s message more now than ever.

U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., said King taught America that what unites us is far stronger than what divides us.

"Recent years have tested our resolve to stand as one people, making Dr. King’s message as essential as ever," she said in a statement. "Each day, we should reflect on Dr. King’s lessons of inclusivity and acceptance and apply them to how we treat one another."

Let all Americans use the message of this day to honor King’s legacy by acting on his words.

Be a source of good in the community and find common ground with those on the opposite side of the ideological spectrum, but most importantly, let’s find an appropriate and sensible way to act on his words.