Well I decided to put the NYC stories on hold for a few more posts. I’ve written them down and will type them up and post them in their time. I was unsure what I wanted to post. I leaned toward another NYC story because they allow me to be funny. Yesterday’s post was serious enough wasn’t it? The lovely Carissa suggested I do something about Martin Luther King Jr. Day and what it means to me.
Whoa! (Of course the ‘whoa’ is all Joey Lawrence like. This will let me use the tag Joey Lawrence and that will help bring more peeps to my blog looking for his peen.) I know two serious posts in a row? Someone better check my temperature. I blame global warming or climate change or just Carissa. Take your pick.
Then someone sent this into overheard Ohio’s twitter:
“This Martin Luther King guy was the man huh mom”–young kid to his mom.
That made me laugh and oddly happy. Today (MLK Jr. Day) I’ve always been intrigued by. I like its duality. It really is a day made for reflection. Today is a day we should look to the past. Meditate on the achievements we have reached in equality and how far we’ve come but also how far we do still need to go. There is where the duality comes from. It should also be a day of recharging the efforts, of doing things.
We tend to (sometimes unfortunately) easily get lost in what was accomplished and think the job is done. Is his dream really fulfilled? Not fully. If he was alive today he’d still be challenging us. There are still challenges that need to be faced. Legislatively, a ton has changed since King was alive. Things like public accommodations, seating on public transportation and drinking from public water fountains are the direct result of the civil rights struggle.
He and all those who struggled years ago fostered progress including passage and affirmation of anti-discrimination laws, opening of the job market and greater communication and understanding between people of different races and ethnicities.
Things that were huge parts of his “dream” such as ending poverty and his belief in non-violence have been forgotten. They’ve at the very least been pushed from the front. King was a strong supporter of human rights, health care and economic development. The violence that continues to find its way into our families, streets and especially schools don’t appear to be pressing concerns.
(That is until shoved to the forefront by horrific actions.)
(Wow you see that up there? A parenthesis used for a serious point and not a joke!)
For me the biggest disappointment is that so many have forgotten that King was willing to challenge the conventional. Controversy should not scare people away from what is right. If you are going to talk about civil rights you have to include a larger scope of things.
Non-discrimination should extend further than color of skin or ethnicity to gender, sexual orientation and disability. We cannot simply remember and quote the easy things. We must remember the bold demands he made of the future.
I think King would at the very least ask ‘how can you be for one thing and not the other?’
This is often quoted but it has always hit home with me:
“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars…. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”–Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community
Today celebrate his (and all those who namelessly worked with him) words, actions and accomplishments but also ask yourself what can we do.