Monday, January 17, 2011

MLK DAY: A Day Off or On?

Welcome Back Meltingpot Readers,

I've missed you. I hope you all have been well. I am getting back into the groove of work and writing and full-speed-ahead family life. Break time has been great and I've decided I should have been born a wealthy heiress because I enjoy being lazy far too much. We can all dream right...

And speaking of dreams, today is the day we celebrate the life and dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And do you want to know what I"m doing on this day? I'm working. And going to the doctor. And making dinner and folding laundry and returning library books. Early this morning, the kids and I collected about 20 books to donate to a local school here that tragically burned down in a fire last week. We'll be dropping those off as soon as I'm done here.

For the last week I've been beset by guilt that I wasn't setting this day aside to participate in the many service projects taking place all over the city in honor of Dr. King. Now known as a "day on instead of a day off," we're all supposed to dedicate this day to helping our fellow man. And while I think this is such a wonderful way to honor Dr. King's legacy -- I took part in a great day of service last year -- I realized that I can't beat myself up for not being able to do service work on this one day.

I look at it this way. I have dedicated my life work to healing racial tensions and working towards equality and peace and justice for people of all colors. Whenever I have the chance to help others, I do so eagerly. Now, don't get me wrong, like most people I could always do more, but just like I don't wait until Valentine's Day to tell the people in my life that I love them, I don't think I have to save up all of my good deeds towards men for MLK Day. It's a great opportunity, but I'm not a bad person --and neither are you -- if you can't squeeze a service project in on this particular day.

I attended a church service yesterday that was dedicated to the memory of Dr. King. And just hearing the choir sing the songs of the Civil Rights era (and a few heart-tugging spirituals) inspired me to no end. I will continue to work for equality and justice and peace amongst all men, with songs in my heart. Just not today.

Here's one of my favorite songs of that era, that I hope will inspire you too.



PEACE!

3 comments:

alli said...

Beautiful God bless you. I committed to reading books written by MLK himself not simply what is written about him. Thanks for the video.

Anonymous said...

I hate black history. I hate it because nothing has changed. You want to believe that we have come a long way but the majority of non-black (and even some blacks such as juan williams) still hate blacks like they are the scum of the earth.

I hate black history because its so depressing. Its the same story over and over again. I feel like we are in the same state that the newly freed slaves were in when reconstruction ended. When racist laws started coming up.

When I see how powerful the republicans have become and the kind of racist tactics they use and how no one condemns them, it makes me realize that there truly is no hope for this country.

Its hard to look at black history and not feel anger that things will not change. For every step forward we make, society eventually takes 2 steps back.

In the end, instead of learning about the civil rights movement, I feel its more important to teach kids that there is still a battle to be fought today, this very day. people need to stop framing it as if racism ended when MLK died or when lyndon signed the CR ACT 1965.

But of course, majority of people are in denial. Its easier to pretend its not there and do nothing, than to realize the situation and at hand and realize how powerless you are to be able to change it.

LT said...

Alli,
What a great way to honor the man. I might do the same.

Anon,
I feel your pain. Thanks for sharing some hard truths. But don't give up the fight. Every single one of has the power to make a difference. It may be a small difference, but put all of those small things together and we've changed the world.