Martin Luther King Day is special, a time when we reflect on our beliefs about equality, equity, inclusion, diversity, fairness, etc., and, as one of my colleagues said today, recommit to acting on them.
It’s special to me also because my mother told me Dr. King and his dream was important, the whole time I was growing up. She was a 27-year old white female with two small children when he died. Like so many other Americans, she grieved because she believed he was helping to change our world. She grieved because his four children were left fatherless. She grieved about the violence and injustice of racism, and the violence and injustice of his untimely death.
So on Martin Luther King Day, part of my reflecting is about how the world is different now, so different than that day in 1968 when we lost Dr. King and his inspirational leadership, with his messages that were at once so grittily and unprettily true about the unfair state of our union, and yet also so promising, hopeful and optimistic. I don’t think it is as different as my Mom thought it would be back in the mid-60s when she was avidly following the civil rights movement on a tiny black and white TV. There is so much more to do before we fully realize Dr. King’s dream. Mom has been gone since the fall of 2000, and I think she would be horrified by the racism, violence and poverty that still plague our country.
In honor of MLK Day, I listened to an episode of Peace Talks Radio today that was recorded back in 2014. MLK: Three Landmark Speeches was moving, inspiring and educational, and I highly recommend it. I found myself tearing up in places, clapping along with the crowd at one point, and feeling that Dr. King was reaching forward in time to present me with a personal call to action.
Dr. King said at one point: “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.“
I hear you, Dr. King.
I will lift my voice and sing.
I hear you, Mom. Thank you for teaching me about Dr. King and his dream for America, and that racism is unacceptable.
Click below if you’d like to listen to the audio of MLK: Three Landmark Speeches, an excellent 47-minute exploration of Dr. King and three of his landmark speeches that still resonate today.
RIP, Dr. King, with thanks for your service that continues through your words, your courage and your actions even now, more than 50 years since your death.
You have not been forgotten. We still have a dream.
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