"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent."
—Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today, we can honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. by letting his words inspire us to redouble our efforts to continue fighting for individual rights and liberties wherever they are threatened. For those of us at FIRE, this means continuing to fight for the rights of free speech and expression on campus. For students out there facing censorship for exercising their right to free speech, this means standing up for your rights even if it makes your path more difficult.
FIRE cannot do our work without students who refuse to be silenced by administrations that are unwilling to brook any criticism or unrest on their campuses. Consider students like Andre Massena, who faced expulsion from his social work program for publicly protesting what he believed to be social injustice. Or students like Hayden Barnes, an environmental activist who was deemed a "clear and present danger" to the Valdosta State University campus for his vehement protests against the construction of new parking structures on campus.
Today, we honor everyone with the courage to stand up for basic human rights and dignity, and we hope that Dr. King’s words inspire more people to have that courage.