Let Freedom Ring

Monday, January 18th, 2021

Panther Family,

Let Freedom Ring. These famous words from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, historic I Have a Dream speech, delivered nearly 60 years ago on the footsteps of the Lincoln Memorial, ring true today.

"Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let Freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring."

Dr. King's words illuminate a vision of freedom and equality. That all our destinies are interwoven into one fabric that is America. These words speak to the unrealized potential for equality to transform our society into places of opportunity for all; that we must overcome the challenges that are holding all of us back.

While our society has celebrated important milestones in the journey for freedom and equality, we still have much work to do. The attack on the United States Capitol Building, enduring police violence against people of color, and the impact of the Coronavirus on our livelihoods provide powerful examples of the serious challenges to our society's realization of freedom and equality.

Dr. King's vision was underscored by a life dedicated to public service and a philosophy of peaceful resistance. In Across that Bridge, John Lewis—a luminary of the Civil Rights Movement and late Congressman from Atlanta—reiterated the power of peaceful resistance. After being jailed more than 40 times, beaten, and having his life threatened, Congressman Lewis shares that the movement for equality—cultivated through vigilance and not violence, by an unwavering faith and not fury—could not be overcome by the hatred and intolerance of opponents. Congressman Lewis also reflects that movements are milestones in a longer journey toward justice; that, while the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s brought society forward in pursuit of the Dream for equality, each generation has its own responsibility to carry progress forward. Decades and generations later, we find resonance in the wisdom and strength of this philosophy as we serve our homes, employers, and communities.

On MLK Day, we are reminded the importance of doing our part each day to carry forward the progress of our nation's journey toward equality. We are reminded that peaceful resistance, courage, and vigilance light the way for change as Dr. King and the champions of the historic Civil Rights Movement did six decades ago. Let's do our part to let freedom ring.

Panther Proud,

Mark A. Nook