This week, as we lead up to the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., several writers and friends from the PNW have joined together to share their personal letters to King in the style of Bishop Woodie W. White. White annually pens his “Dear Martin” pieces that are deep reflections on the state of race relations in the US. For our writers, these short messages reflect the impact that MLK has had on each of their lives and ministry.

In today’s installment, Jesse N. Love shares how he first heard of Martin Luther King, Jr. and how times have changed, yet stayed the same. Tomorrow, check out The PNW News Blog for our next installment of letters to MLK.

Dear Dr. King,

When I was in kindergarten, my teacher taught us this song:

Martin Luther King
Was a mighty, mighty man.
He was a preacher
And a teacher
And a man of God
And he loved you and me
And me and you.

Decades after your passing, I am fascinated at how you worked toward equality for all people. Freedoms I take for granted today are fruits from the movements you and others were called to dedicate your lives to.

I can sit at a restaurant with friends who are of different ethnicities – free from segregation.

I utilize my education and God-given skills in a career, free from being relegated to a job based on my class or skin color.

Young and old have access to learn about diversity, free from limited understanding that breed intolerance of one another.

Sadly, we have ways to go. Yes we’ve progressed, but like a dormant virus, the sin of hate lives – infecting the misguided and fearful when communities are at their weakest.

This spiritual void exists in the justice system – pitting authoritative power against the weak through profiling to excessive force.

We still judge based on the color of our skin (and our class, our sexual orientation, or our nationality) but not always on the content of our character.

Teacher, how can we live into a new reality of healing, understanding, and love for one another?

You had a dream, “…that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

I dream that I can help improve the lives for future generations as you have for me.

Happy New Year and have a blessed birthday!

With gratitude,

Jesse N. Love

Jesse N. Love serves as the Graphic Designer & Print Manager for the PNWUMC.


  1. Not knowing the significance of the experience at the time, I was privileged to hear Dr. King speak at a downtown church in Detroit in 1957. The pastor was given three months off to work on his sermons for the other nine months. I was never appointed to a church like that.

    While a pastor at Stanwood, we had a speaker (white man by the name of Ed King) who played a prominent role in Mississippi politics and church life. His white conference refused to ordain him by a vote of 74 to 71 or something like that because he had been in jail for civil rights activities. He was ordained by the black conference in Mississippi and became part of the United Methodist Church when we merged in 1968. Ironic???

    During that period of time, two retired ministers were part of the congregation and they shared that they had been at Selma (they never met until worshipping in Stanwood), one from Maryland and one from Texas. They operated on opposite sides of the bridge. My congregation applauded them loudly. How times have changed. Their Maryland and Texas congregations did not applaud.

    I heard the call to Selma, but living in Alaska, I rationalized that it would be too expensive for me to get there, but I was able to support the call for justice for Native Americans in Alaska, which resulted in an act of Congress to settle Native American Land Claims there.

    Thanks for sharing your reflections. Racism is still alive but in different forms.

    • Hey John: thanks for reading my piece and thank you for sharing your story! I would love to collaborate with you on writing something – ANYTHING. Just let me know. -Jesse

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