Who is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to me?

April 4, 2018



Every morning as I enter my office at Foundation Academy of Amsterdam, the picture of Martin Luther King Jr. welcomes me with his most profound words: “I have a dream...”. These words give me inspiration to continue with the work I am doing here in Amsterdam---trying with my little strength that I have---to be a voice for my black brothers and sisters, as well as for any marginalised groups in the society. In the past five hundred years, my black brothers and sisters have experienced systematic racism, slavery, human trafficking, even currently they are confronted with hidden prejudices and racism.


Already for 24 years I have been involved with the African community in Amsterdam. Many times, I have had students, friends, church families coming to my office full of tears, because they have been discriminated or rejected. Just few weeks ago a black student of mine, a mother of three kids, while she was reading her theology books in the metro on her way to the class, two adults who sat next to her asked her sarcastically: “What are you trying to do? Are you trying to act like white folks? Books are for whites!” they said! I can go on with many examples that I hear almost every week. Some of my western friends, often react like: “have we not dealt with this?” Or “Get over it, it was 500 years ago” they say. My answer to them would be; “yes, perhaps you have dealt with it, but those with whom I am involved every day, are still struggling, internally suffering not only because of what happened five hundred years ago, but also because of what is happening today.” Technically, racism and prejudices against the black people are forbidden in the lawbooks but they are secretly alive in many people’s hearts and like a snake they slip into people’s daily conducts: unseen, hidden, tricky and not easily traceable--- but they are there!


Dr. King’s legacy must continue, none of us can be Dr. King, but in our little spheres of influence we can walk and operate in his footsteps.


Samuel Lee

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© 2010-2019 by Samuel C. Lee


Samuel Lee (Ph.D.) is university lecturer, at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam - Faculty of Religion and Theology (FRT-VU), and director for Center for Theology of Migration, the educational program of Samen Kerk in Nederland at the FRT-VU. 

He is the founder of Foundation Academy of Amsterdam, offering higher education in liberal arts and humanities for migrants, refugees and persecuted minorities.


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