Celebrating MLK Day: Lessons Learned from a True Leader

Each year, the NorCal MLK Foundation honors the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by hosting events around San Francisco.

From Jan. 10 to 17, 2022, our Bay Area neighbors are invited to participate in several events, including an interreligious symposium, a forum, and a music festival held at Yerba Buena Gardens. A memorial to MLK is located within the park, which features photos from the Civil Rights movement and panels inscribed with King’s words, including excerpts from his famous speech at the March on Washington.

At Cypress Lawn, our dedicated staff has been reflecting upon the impact of this unforgettable activist and leader. We’ve put together some inspiring quotes from MLK that illustrate valuable life lessons from which we might all benefit and learn.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

When life gets hard, it can be tempting to stop moving and to give up entirely. Perhaps you’ve recently suffered the loss of a loved one and are struggling with grief. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to face, but it’s important to remember that professional support is available. Taking one small step to find help will keep you moving through your grief journey. Reach out to us for more information about grief resources or to get connected with a local grief counselor or therapist.

“We must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future.”

In order to move forward in life, you must believe in the future and its possibilities for growth and expansion. If you’re struggling with something that feels insurmountable, try to keep MLK’s words in mind. Do your best to have faith in what’s to come and to trust the unfolding of the days to come.

 “Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”

 This is one of our favorite MLK quotes, as it speaks to forgiveness as a constant state that is unchanging and incapable of being exhausted. Though it might seem impossible to embody such a mindset in day-to-day life, remember that forgiveness is a process and takes conscious effort in the beginning. As you practice forgiveness more often, it will start to feel more natural and will likely require much less effort on your part.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

We love this quote because it reminds us to look at everything we do — not just here at our funeral home but within our community — through a social lens. It’s important to keep in mind that all our actions affect those around us.

This MLK Day, we challenge our neighbors in San Francisco and beyond to appreciate the powerful lessons MLK taught us all about peace, love, connection, and justice.