“I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies; education and culture for their minds; and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits. – Martin Luther King, 1964 Nobel Prize acceptance speech
Martin Luther King’s dream of justice and equity was deeply intertwined with education. As we reflect on his legacy, let us remember his wisdom: “It was not fortuitous that education became embroiled in [the Civil Rights Movement]… Education is one of the vital tools the Negro needs in order to advance. And yet it has been denied him by devices of segregation and manipulations with quality.” - Martin Luther King, 1964 John Dewey Award from the United Federation of Teachers.
Dr. King argued forcefully for a radical transformation in public education, criticizing the unequal distribution of resources and unequal attention to individual students’ needs. Yet decades after his death, the struggle for equity in education and in every aspect of our society continues. Democracy cannot function without equity and universal access to quality in education. Education is the most enduring path. LINC has always understood the direct relationship between our literacy programming and the role literacy itself plays as the foundation of a democratic society.
Dr. King’s passion for justice and his commitment to democracy inspire us, not only on this holiday but as an underlying value at LINC. Our dedication to creating educational opportunities for some of New York City’s most vulnerable families rests on the conviction that literacy equips today’s children to become tomorrow’s leaders, the doctors who will cure cancer, the scientists who will meet the challenges of climate change and the parents who will raise their children to be compassionate, caring adults. We are privileged to work with these families, toward these ends, and to help that arc bend toward justice.