"Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be." —Martin Luther King Jr.

One of the most impressive things about Martin Luther King Jr (1929-1968) is how deep his belief was that all of humanity is equal. As he spoke of the equality for people of color, he also offered a solution that goes to the core of what could end a multitude of human struggles including racism, poverty, limited access to healthcare, and lack of equitable opportunity – we are all always connected.

We cannot turn our face from one person based on race, religion, gender, economic status, education, or any demographic measurement or excuse, without also turning our face from our own selves, wellbeing, and integrity. One cannot thrive without the other – unity.

Martin Luther King Jr. never faltered from speaking his heart and mind, even knowing the possible consequences. He was killed for his beliefs, but he was not silenced. His voice rings out clearly today and gives us hope and guidance, inside a challenge, for a more loving world and a healthier way: “I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.” Have courage – we are the hope that’s needed.

We celebrate the legacy of one of the world’s greatest civil rights leaders and humanitarians on January 17, 2022.

Kerry duVent

Kerry is the Credentialing Coordinator for RI International. She is the Co-Chair and Communication Cultural Champion for the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Council.