Here’s wishing everyone a safe, sane Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

For many of us, today is something of a day of mourning: not only mourning the loss of a great civil rights leader, but also mourning the turn our great nation seems to have taken in the last few years.

Sadly, it wasn’t really a turn. It’s just that so much of the racism that still exists in the U.S. was hiding in the shadows in recent years. The white supremacy movement, a.k.a., the Alt-Right, seemed to have been relegated to the fringes. Today, it’s out in the mainstream.

Perhaps there is some good here. Like a wound that will heal sooner if exposed to the air, perhaps it’s best that the Band-Aid has been ripped off the pervasive racism that continues to fester in so many communities.

Still, it’s now painfully obvious that we have a long, long way to go. Most young people today don’t carry the absurd racist and homophobic beliefs so many of their elders did, or still do. But as the new generation comes of age, we have to equip them with the tools to create real change, lasting change.

And therein lies one of our greatest challenges.

So however you celebrate the day, take a moment to reflect on how you can help in the struggle in the coming months. We’ll need every voice, every vote, and every action, from the greatest to the smallest, to win the battle over the forces of hate. As Warren Zevon wrote, They say love conquers all / You can’t start it like a car / You can’t stop it with a gun.

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