Rev. Dr. Ralph Williamson (Courtesy photo)

In Ecclesiastes 3:1 it tells us, “to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” This Monday, January 17, we remember the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a great American hero, preacher, and civil rights leader.

This American legend came along when our nation was sweltering with hatred and injustice. Too many people were reaping the benefits through the blood, sweat, and tears of people misused, abused, and treated less than second-class citizens.

God divinely orchestrated a situation in the deep south that inspired Martin Luther King Jr. to lead a civil rights movement against the injustices in our nation. This movement opened doors that were closed and tore down barriers that prevented people who had been devalued because of segregation, racism, and Jim Crow laws.

Just as Moses had his time to lead a people out of Egypt…on December 1, 1955 in Montgomery Alabama, it was Martin Luther King Jr.’s season and time. God placed a mantel in his hand, which gave him the power to march to the beat of a different drum. It was a drumbeat that had never been heard before in America and it shook the very foundation of our nation.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a drum major for justice, a drum major for peace, and a drum major for righteousness. He dreamed for a greater and better America, where people would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. We were able to see Black children walk and attend school together with children of all races and social classes.

Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that the fight to end racism, segregation, lynching, and persecution, could cost him his life. Yet, King never gave up dreaming. He dared to stand and make a difference that changed our nation and the world.

And later, before our very own eyes, we witnessed Barrack Obama elected to be the first African American president. As a tribute to King daring to dream the American dream, in 2011, President Barrack Obama dedicated a monument in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

We have a responsibility, not to just honor what King stood for, but to continue fighting for the injustices of local and state governments who dare to take away our rights to vote. “God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who hast brought us thus far on the way; Thou who hast by thy might, lead us into the light, keep us forever in the path we pray.”

There is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. This is our time to stand and fight. We cannot lose our right to vote. We must make the effort to stop election sabotage and do everything in our power to prevent discrimination and voter suppression against Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and other minority groups. Let us earnestly fulfil our responsibility!

The Rev. Dr. Ralph Williamson is the senior pastor of Christ Our Redeemer AME Church, a multicultural congregation of more than 3,000 located in Irvine, California.