Famous voices throughout history have used their platforms to share messages of freedom and justice. In 2016, Beyonce said, “Freedom, where are you? I need freedom, too.” Moses said to Pharaoh, “Let My people go,” on behalf of his Creator. And in 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr encouraged a group of students advocating for racial equality by saying, “the time is always right to do what is right.”

The messengers have changed. The channels and systems for communicating have changed. But the message remains stubbornly unmovable: one of the greatest commonalities we all have is the desire to be free, equal, loved and to live in peace. These basic pillars bind us all together in one universal human experience. It’s an inescapable truth that we are brothers and sisters because we are mankind first, and we share similar joys, fears, concerns and dreams.

The reality of divisions among us is undeniable, and we are currently living through a scary moment in history, witnessing things we’ve never seen before. There are compounding tragedies weighing on all of us such as a global pandemic that’s killed millions of people, an economic crisis that has left many desperate and afraid, and U.S. domestic violence and unrest that is as prevalent as ever. Our ideals of hope and unity are being challenged and tested in such drastic ways that it can seem impossible for one person to make a practical difference. “Who am I that anyone would listen to me?” is a question many undoubtedly ask themselves.

But we believe a single voice can change the world, a community, a household and the trajectory of future generations. We believe it is our duty to speak up. Whether quoting your favorite spiritual leader, admonishing a neighbor who has erred in his thoughts and actions, honorably performing civic duties such as voting or peacefully participating in the political process – everyone must do their part in creating a world that provides justice for all.

While much work is yet to be done, we are witnessing glimmers of reassurance that lofty dreams and societal progress really can be achieved, such as the upcoming installation of our country’s first woman to serve as the Vice President of the United States – inspiring a new generation of young people. We applaud those who have preserved the legacy of freedom with their talents and opportunities – sometimes at their own peril and when tremendous courage is required.

Today, as the world celebrates one of America’s most famous freedom torchbearers, Martin Luther King, Jr., the team at JMC would like to add our voice to the collective chorus of society, that optimistically and dutifully calls for justice and the freedom to peaceably pursue happiness – all the while submitting to the truth that we are all indeed created equal. We believe that no individual has the right to impose his will on others, nor unjustly deprive his neighbor of safety, liberty and life. These ideas have been discussed in private with close friends, debated in public courts, and at times fought for on battlefields. But at the end of the day, the message of freedom – its necessity, its vitality, and its power for good – will last forever, as all generations seek to redeem its promise. It will certainly require each of us to open our hearts and lift our voices to encourage, admonish, correct, negotiate with, comfort, reassure and heal our brothers and sisters in the spirit of truth and love.