About the Author: Timothy J. Roemer serves as U.S. Ambassador to India.
To commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, I had a very enjoyable visit with a Dalit community in North Delhi. I walked through the narrow lanes, met with families, and spoke with community leaders from the National Confederation of Dalit Organizations. I even added "sweeping" to my job skills learned in India -- in addition to rickshaw driving and weaving.
Dr. King symbolizes civil rights in America. He changed the direction of our country so that only 40 years after his courageous struggle, an African-American could be elected to the highest office in America. Using Gandhi's teachings, Dr. King fought against discrimination, prejudice, and intolerance through civil disobedience and non-violent means. He was a champion for not only African-Americans, but also for the poor, the downtrodden, and the disadvantaged.
By honoring Dr. King, we honor all those who stand for peace, freedom, equality, and justice. One such person was Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, who fought for equal rights of the Dalit community like Dr. King fought for civil rights in America. These universal values are ones that the United States shares with India. It is these shared values that make the U.S.-India global partnership the "defining partnership of the 21st century."
Tell me who in your community is fighting for universal values!
You can learn more about India and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy on U.S. Embassy New Delhi's YouTube Channel and view historic photographs of Dr. King in India on the embassy's Flickr Photostream.Related Entry:U.S. Celebrates 25th Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service