A letter to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The following blog post is taken from a letter that fifth grader Jeremiah '24 wrote to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in honor of MLK Day. Jeremiah read the letter aloud to his classmates and teachers at a Lower School assembly.

Dear Dr. King,

My name is Jeremiah. We have never met, but my parents gave me the middle name Martin after you. I've studied your life and I am writing you this letter to tell you a little about me and give you an update about things you have missed.

It may surprise you, but the United States of America observes the third Monday in January of each year as a national holiday in celebration of you — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. President Ronald Reagan signed this holiday into law in 1983. Some states resisted observing the holiday by giving it other names or combining it with other holidays, but finally in 2000 all 50 states observed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a national holiday. Additionally, there is a memorial erected in your image on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial makes you the first African American to be honored in this way on the National Mall.

I think it's safe to say that all Americans know who you are, and we all benefit from your legacy and struggle for freedom, equality and justice. The dream you shared with America on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial has taken flight. Your dream flew high in the skies in 2009 when America elected the first African American President, Barack Obama, who served for two terms.

While America has come a long way since you were shot and killed in Memphis on April 4, 1968, we still have a long way to go. I know you committed your life to service, justice for all, and equal rights; however even in 2016 many injustices and inequalities remain.

Many injustices and inequalities remain in America's educational, justice, policing and prison systems. I think the biggest challenge is that very few people are willing to admit that these injustices and inequalities exist and even fewer are willing to work toward removing them.

What I have learned from your life is that one person who dedicates their life to serving others and standing up to systems of inequality and injustice can make a difference... even change the world.