It is the mission of the Missoula MLK Day planning team to build a community-wide celebration providing educational, service, and advocacy events within Missoula to help elevate and remember the work of the civil rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy; committing our community to ongoing anti-racism and human rights work today and in the future. We acknowledge that the work of the civil rights movement is intersectional. Therefore, while many events focus on issues of racial justice, we realize the need for empowerment for many in our community and beyond.
As we congregate today on land inhabited from time immemorial by the Salish, Pend d’Oreilles, and Blackfoot people and in the spirit of the civil rights movement, we acknowledge the historical and ongoing trauma of native and Indigenous peoples across our country and especially here in Western Montana. The Missoula MLK Day Committee seeks to utilize our platform to honor, support, and empower their voices and those of other historically marginalized communities. In the spirit of Dr. King, we wish to continue and expand upon his legacy by addressing the intersecting issues of diversity, inclusion, and civil rights in the modern age while acknowledging and addressing the historical trauma wrought by colonialism, genocide, slavery, and segregation. Through the awareness of Dr. King’s timeless teachings, we can navigate our choices when confronted with issues of human rights in the future.
We invite you, today and in the days to come, to join us in applying and actualizing Dr. King’s methods of understanding, compassion, and non-violence to all situations involving human rights while reflecting upon his words, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”