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How Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Message Has Impacted Arab Americans

posted on: Jan 18, 2021

By: Sara Tawfik/Arab America Contributing Writer

We commemorate Martin Luther King Jr as an incredible and authentic civil rights leader that lead a generation into a call for equality and freedom. Dr. King expressed his deep desire for equality among African American people that has a profound impact on minorities, including Arab Americans, for decades after his time.

The marginalization of several minority groups within the United States including groups such as African Americans, Asian Americans, and Arab Americans is still evident in modern society. However, it was through the civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. that a success has been achieved toward the non-violent Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King did not just take a stand for the African American community but stated that all men should be treated equally. MLK Jr. Day serves as a reminder that the struggles that Arab Americans and minorities experience didn’t appear unexpectedly, and that we must challenge them.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed … that all men are created equal.”

Martin Luther King Jr. August 28, 1963.

For the Arab American community, the message behind Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream provides a powerful lesson and motivation with their struggle for equality and civil rights. Within this diverse country, Arab Americans make up around 1% of the American community, which is nearly four million Arabs. Because of this, Dr. King’s message of equality has a deeply rooted connection with the Arab American community that has felt discrimination specifically after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Dr. King explains the importance of being brave and standing up in the face of injustice. At the commemoration of MLK, we challenge you to live by King’s example; and take MLK’s message as a call to action.

Although Martin Luther King Jr’s message has had a profound impact on the way civil conflicts such as discrimination and poverty among minority groups, there is still so much work to be done to continue Martin Luther King’s legacy. There must be more allies for the movement of equality.

“He was a purveyor of peace, but it is contrary to the authentic King to call for peace without being a doer and seeker of justice.”

Bernice King on her father’s mission

Our efforts must be applied towards dismantling societal injustice such as racism, colonialism, and incarceration of minorities. This is what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr fought and died for; to protect the equalities of minority groups. The most honorable way to pay tribute to this incredible Civil rights leader is to follow in his footsteps and be an advocate for someone who doesn’t have a voice in this society. This generation must work towards allocating resources to empower and help minorities.

“Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

As we continue to observe and analyze the injustice that occurs toward minority groups, we must take action toward combating it. Although there’s much pain and sorrow within the history of our country toward minority groups, there is a sense of hope in a brighter tomorrow.

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, Michigan 13th District expressed it well to Arab America:

“The message of justice, equality, and fairness that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shared with the world is one that I think very well resonates with Arab Americans. The push against war, greed, and injustice is one that we should embody and join communities across the country to say enough is enough, we demand equity and the pursuit of happiness. It is my hope that as we celebrate MLK, we commit to a multi-cultural and multi-racial coalition that fights for what’s right in the United States and across the world.”

To learn more about how MLK has impacted Arab Americans through his incredible vision, read our blog.