Change Is Going to Come


Tom Bohn: Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by not treating today as another Monday

MLK memorial

It’s the third Monday of the new year.

For many of you, especially those outside the United States, it’s just another Monday.

Some of you will receive this message at work, some at home, and many of you, like me, in your home office. Wherever you are, I hope you will join me and take a moment to think of the events, that prompted the late President Ronald Reagan on this day in 1986 to mark the first observance of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a national holiday. An excerpt from his proclamation read:

“Almost 30 years ago, on January 30, 1956, Dr. King stood amid the broken glass and splinters of his bombed-out front porch and calmed an angry crowd clamoring for vengeance. "We cannot solve this problem through retaliatory violence," he told them. Dr. King steadfastly opposed both the timid and those who counselled violence. To the former, he preached that "true peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice." To the latter, he said that "in the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds."

I was born after Dr. King was assassinated. I didn’t live through the 60s. But, like each of you, I did live through 2020. A pandemic and the culmination of centuries of racial injustice brought a year like none other in my lifetime. The perverse actions in the U.S. Capitol nearly two weeks ago left me hoping and praying Dr. King’s life and legacy were not in vain.

Let’s ensure that not be the case. In President Reagan’s proclamation, he wrote we need to do more than honor Dr. King with thoroughfares and parks that bear his name and postage stamps that bear his likeness.

“Let all Americans of every race and creed and color work together to build in this blessed land a shining city of brotherhood, justice, and harmony. This is the monument Dr. King would have wanted-most of all.”

I’m not the orator, the advocate, the mobilizer that Dr. King was. Yet, my life has been indelibly affected for the better. Dr. King’s letter from April 16, 1963, when he was held in Birmingham, Alabama city jail reminds me that work remains. I hope that his words help illuminate for you, as they did me, what he fought for then, what many people fight for now, and to appreciate how none of us is equal when some of us, any of us, remain oppressed.

Today, on this Monday, the third Monday in the year 2021, please take a moment to take an intentional action that makes tomorrow’s world a little less divisive and more in the spirit of which Dr. King believed was possible. To that end, as an organization, ACG is committed to bringing equity within the middle market, work that will yield a number of thoughtful and sustainable initiatives in the months to come.

This year, it is my hope that individually, and collectively we can realize Dr. King’s words: “true peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice”. As Sam Cooke once wrote, it’s been a long time coming, but “Change is Gonna Come”.