Today, we at the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) reflect on the work of one of our nation’s greatest moral champions. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought tirelessly for equality in the face of substantial resistance, eventually making the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of a simple ideal – that America live up to its highest values and be a place where all people are free to live their lives and pursue their dreams.
As we recognize Dr. King’s leadership and his countless contributions, we must remember his vision and fight for equality were resisted powerfully by entrenched interests. History teaches us that social change does not happen without sacrifice. There are always forces that push for moderation or attempt to explain away progress to protect an unacceptable status quo. As educators, we see this play out each and every day. But considering the urgent need for equity and access to quality schools for the most vulnerable among us, we cannot give in to these temptations. Our students deserve better now. Their futures can’t wait for incremental change.
Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?” Today, INCS honors Dr. King’s legacy, leadership, and vision for a better tomorrow, and we vow to be vigilant and challenge those who undermine the progress such heroes have made. In an era of incivility and injustice, we pledge to be in service to our communities and students. We will continue to fight for equitable access to public education until every child has access to opportunity and is prepared for the world that awaits them.