January 17, 2011

Why We Shouldn’t Have the Day Off on Martin Luther King Day. ~ Joshua Scott Onysko

Over the years, many people have acted surprised when they hear that Pangea Organics, (a known socially active company), does not close on MLK Day. This is why:

I believe that the biggest threat to our future is a lack of inspiration. Don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of inspiring people everywhere, many of whom are dedicated to inspiring others. But, there is never enough.

Dr. King lived an extraordinary life, more so than most may realize. In 1959, King visited the birthplace of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. On the last day of his journey, in a radio address made during his final evening in India, King reflected:

“Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity.”

King had made the decision that he was going to carry out his life’s work by embracing peace and knowledge as his only weapons. He lived his entire life fighting without arms for what he knew was the future of the world in which he lived—for what was right. Even after multiple threats on his life, on the lives of his family, and after his home was bombed, he stayed true to his path.

When we think of Dr. King, we usually think of him as the leader of the African American Civil Rights Movement—the corner stone of what began the alleviation of our oppressive cultural belief structure of African American rights, which he was. When I pull the view back, I truly realize that Dr. King was freeing the whites just as much as the blacks. There is nothing more debilitating to the future of a culture than ignorance and a lack of understanding; Dr. King freed people from a mental slavery that plagues our world everyday. We all suffer from this.

It’s great that schools, roads, and a day is named after such an amazing man, but what I want is our kids’ future to be inspired by this man’s life. I want every child being born to someday know that when he or she has a dream, it doesn’t have to be just a dream, it can be reality. I want every child to know that the world can be changed without violence. I want every child to know that his or her life matters and the actions that he or she takes everyday affect the world. I want every teacher and every parent to raise their children to know that they are the future, and the dreams that they have are theirs to share with the world and nobody can stop them from achieving them…nobody.

In the end, I believe we have created a company that pays homage to Dr. King more by staying open, than spending one extra day not doing the work that we do.

I have a dream! And you are part of it….

Long Live the King!

Joshua-Scott Onysko, a longtime friend to elephant, is founder and CEO of Pangea Organics. You can read more from Josh here.

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