Readers know that I am a lawyer who specializes in defending federal criminal investigations and prosecutions, here in my long-time home of Atlanta. This is also the birthplace and spiritual home of Dr. Martin Luther King III. This morning I did some volunteer work (as many do) here in beloved “ATL” as a way to honor the memory and dreams of Dr. King.
Dr. King was no stranger to the criminal justice system. He was jailed, prosecuted and reviled by many who were in charge of the criminal justice systems here in the South. I strongly urge people to read (or re-read) his famed “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” a part of which is one if his most famous quotes: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial ‘outside agitator’ idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”
I’ve been licking my wounds from a recent fight that I lost in Court. It was (and is) the epitome of “injustice”. It affects a single criminal defendant along with her family and friends (plus her legal team). However, this single injustice is, just like Dr. King wrote, “a threat to justice everywhere”. After several weeks of being down about this result I now have the fight back in my blood and bones. We cannot tolerate injustice, large or small, and this MLK Day is a great way for all of us to remind ourselves that the fight for a better and more perfect society is never-ending.
Happy Birthday Dr. King, your words and memory have rejuvenated one of the foot soldiers in the cause for justice. Now I need to get back to work.