image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Do The Right Thing

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best, “The Time Is Always Right To Do What Is Right.” As we celebrate the life and legacy of this iconic Civil Rights Leader on Monday, January 17, we reflect on how one Baptist Minister, inspired by Christian beliefs and nonviolent activism, became one of the most charismatic and influential leaders and speakers of our time.

Believing that the time was right to do what was right, Dr. King strived for a world void of segregation and racism. He led the Civil Rights Movement, which sought equality for all humanity, especially African Americans.

Over 20 years after Dr. King’s assassination in 1968, Director Spike Lee released the hit movie “Do the Right Thing” in 1989. The film features Sal, an Italian pizzeria owner in Brooklyn, frequented by neighborhood locals who are African American. Neighborhood tensions rise as African American patrons discover only Italian actors showcased on the pizzeria walls. No African American patrons were visible in the decor. The showcase wall becomes a symbol of racism and a plea for Sal and other characters to examine their racial beliefs and do the right thing. The movie won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture.

As we embark on a New Year, we must remind ourselves of Dr. King’s quote, “The Time Is Always Right to Do What Is Right.” Are we acting upon issues that will result in institutional and systemic social change? What are we doing to dismantle structural racism? Have we committed to mentor and empowering social entrepreneurs? Above all, we must also remember that the time is always right to “Do the Right Thing.”