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CEO Message: Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted on Jan. 15, 2018 ( comments)
Martin Luther King, Jr, in Washington DC 1963
Martin Luther King, Jr. addresses a crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech during the Aug. 28, 1963 march on Washington D.C.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on Jan. 15, 1929, and the holiday on Monday marks his 89th birthday. Each year, this day offers us a reminder to reflect on the important work to which Dr. King devoted his life.

In anticipation of the upcoming holiday, this week I reread the remarks he made when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Allow me to share three short passages taken from a challenging and memorable speech.

Early in the speech, Dr. King suggests the driving force for a world where peace has been achieved: “Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace. … If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”

He then turns his attention to those who find his perspective too idealistic and who accept the status quo as inevitable: “I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. … I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. ... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.”

As the speech draws to a close, Dr. King suggests that the struggle for justice is an indication of our potential and true destiny: “When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born.”

May the holiday on Monday be an opportunity to remember and reaffirm the values Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of, and may they strengthen the moral framework in our personal lives and in our nation.

Here is the Nobel Peace Prize speech in its entirety.

Posted in: CEO Perspective | History

About The Author

Bill Robertson Bill Robertson, President and CEO
Bill Robertson has served as MultiCare's President and CEO since May 2014. He came from Adventist HealthCare, Inc., based in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Prior to Adventist, Robertson served as CEO of Shawnee Mission Medical Center near Kansas City, Kansas.  More stories by this author
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