Celebrate MLK Day Year Round

by Vista Kalipa

What truly needs to be a year-round event has somewhat turnedinto a one-month celebration. February is known across the globe asa month in celebration of black history.

Black people trace their origins back the homelands of Africa,where people place importance on the development of the communityrather than solely focusing on oneself

This month, we celebrate the greater good many blacks haveachieved. Through their courage and wisdom, many of them have beenable to break down the racial barriers that have long kept blackpeople from advancing in this society.

Today, many blacks are fulfilling the roles their forefatherswere not able to hold. Some of them are living the “dream” MartinLuther King Jr. once had.

Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, sits on thetop of this list because of his altruistic attempts to bring peaceand prosperity to South Africa. His self-sacrificial attempts toend injustice and the ugly history of apartheid in South Africa aresome of the qualities making him one of the world’s belovedleaders. Mandela was jailed for 27 years by the apartheidgovernment of South Africa under the allegations of plotting tooverthrow the government. If fighting injustice and segregation ofblack and whites in countries where blacks are dominant, thenMandela was guilty as charged.

He is a leader of this century and is one of the mostsignificant black leaders of our time. His name has becomesynonymous with peace, goodwill, unity, love compassion and thepower of forgiveness.

Joining Mandela in this list of top black achievers of thiscentury is Archbishop Desmond Tutu. A graduate of the University ofSouth Africa where he studied theology, Tutu became anothersignificant symbol in the fight against apartheid. After receivinghis Master’s of Theology degree in England, he came back to SouthAfrica to partake in the struggle and to bring unity among thepeople of South Africa. Tutu invested most of his time in thebattle of equal rights for all, a common education system andglobal human rights.

Since the emancipation of women, we have seen many significantchanges in our society. Many women have been able to illuminate somany lives through their given talents they were never able toshare before. The breaking down of these barriers has allowed manyblack women to embrace the same privileges their white counterpartshave been able to devour.

Oprah Winfrey is probably the first black woman to have trod thepath some black men and women have never been able to. She hasachieved momentous success in this society. She pushed herself tothe limit, moving past all the terrible history she grew up in.

As a child, her father required her to read a book and write abook report each week, preparing her for the life she would laterenjoy. Oprah later graduated from Tennessee State University with adegree in speech communication and performing arts.

Today, Oprah is one of the famous Americans the world loves.Through her show, she has been able to bring together people ofvarious backgrounds. Oprah is one of the most successful women inhistory and is the first black woman to ever own and produce herown talk show. Time Magazine named her one of the 100 MostInfluential People of the 20th century. The National Academy ofTelevision Arts and Sciences gave her the Lifetime AchievementAward.

In 2003, Forbes Magazine named her the first black woman to everenter the billionaire’s circle.

Condoleeza Rice, President Bush’s personal confidant on mattersof national security. She is a member of the Council of ForeignRelations and also a professor and provost at StanfordUniversity.

Secretary of State Colin Powell is another top achiever. He isformer chairman of America’s Promise-The Alliance for Youth, whichis a non-profit organization dedicated to mobilizing people fromevery sector of American life to build character and competence foryoung people. He was a professional soldier for 35 years where heheld the highest staff positions, including 12th chairman of theJoint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in theDepartment of Defense.

Others would include Justice Clarence Thomas, Maya Angelou,author of many books the world has come to enjoy, and of course,Denzel Washington and Halle Berry for their most recent success inwinning the Academy Award.

The heroes and heroines we celebrate this month serve as rolemodels and leaders who will continue to inspire the generations ofmany young people out there.

It us all take our hats off and recognize them for thestupendous work they have done.