So, as an 80’s baby, you learn of Martin Luther King, Jr your entire childhood! His biography, and trivia are required readings. You see the picture of his assassination. Your school takes that long bus ride to the museum in Memphis. Your parents speak of him in the home. You get out of school for his birthday. And, if you were a child at St. Mark you were probably in a ministry that was in the marade EVERY year. You MLK accent is spot on when you recite parts of “I Have a Dream”. This collective experience was normal. This was all just a part of life.
Then that 80’s baby turned into a 90’s kid. I got older. I experienced racism, prejudice, and discrimination firsthand. I push my imagination and visualize what he, and Rosa, and every other person of that time experienced. I close my eyes and hear the hateful words yelled at protest. I feel the hose on my legs as I march. I see my bloody face sitting in a jail cell are a non-violent protest because I simply wanted to vote. And then it happens, I’m ready to contribute to the cause! I want to fight for freedom, equality, and justice! I have a purpose.
Then that 90’s kids, becomes a millennial and a mother. I experience a paralyzing fear for my son in a divided nation. I am enraged and petrified simultaneously. He grows in a place where hate is normal and even presidential. A place that often seems very different that the dream Dr. King spoke of in Washington.
This year January 15th came as it does every year. I was off work and my son out of school. I quizzed my son about MLK facts. We watched speeches on television and observed the day as normal.
However, after all that, my thoughts this year wondered a little further. Dr. King, WAS KILLED, at 39. He was 8 years older than I am now. That hit me like a ton of bricks and has been on my mind incessantly. Now, I consider myself mature, but my twenties were twenties. It blows my mind to think of a 34 year old man delivering a dream we still quote today.
So, while I have serious concerns and strong opinions about the current atmosphere in the country right now….While I am yet still saddened by the divisive rhetoric I see on my timeline … While I am depleted of energy yet renewed with purpose… I must focus on my change. I must focus on what I can do. How will I assist in the change I want to see today? Time is always of the essence.
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider.” Martin Luther King, Jr