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Standing up for the audacious vision Dr. King describes

In his 1964 speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”

Nearly two decades earlier, he wrote in a Morehouse College campus paper: “Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.”

As we observe MLK Jr. Day this year, I hope you’ll join me in reflecting on these words. As educators and librarians, we have a duty to equip our students not only with knowledge, but with the tools they need to apply that knowledge to improving their communities and the world. And as a union, we must stand up for the audacious vision Dr. King describes: a world where all the needs of our students and our communities - both physical and nonmaterial - are fully met.

I’m constantly inspired by the students I see living out their values in the world, whether they’re organizing rallies for racial and gender justice, working to reduce climate change in their communities, or advocating for the high-quality, fully-resourced schools they deserve. Let’s remember Dr. King’s words this month, and continue working towards the ‘worthy objectives’ that he spoke of. - Beth Kontos, AFT Massachusetts President

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