Monday, January 16, 2006

hats off to MLK

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

I heard Martin Luther King Jr's speech on the radio - twice in fact today. The first time I was in the auto shop waiting on my car and I mentioned it to the kids, who said they didn't care and so I explained to them its importance and his importance in our nation's history. The private school they go to has a mix of black, white, and Hispanic kids and I really enjoy the diversity aspect of it for a private school. I love that my children will grow up and not see black children as "other" than them, that they will know they are just people like them with a different skin color, but they are friends and peers with them in a way that even I wasn't in the 1970s and 1980s growing up. My kids seemed more interested when I pointed it out to them.

My son has been asking why we don't have any black people in our church and I don't know what to say to that question. I have heard it said that the church is the last of the segregated places. I don't know why but I do know that Kingwood Texas is pretty pasty white though that is changing. It's not that it's purposefully segregated. I remember hearing a friend of mine (not a close friend and I don't keep in touch with her anymore) say she was looking at houses and she liked one but there were black neighbors, and she said "I don't have a problem with black people. I just don't really want them to live next to me." I was shocked! And disgusted!

I am thankful that neither of my parents were discriminatory in any way and I grew up not seeing black people as any different than me on the inside. In fact I rather think people of culture have a lot of strength that some whites just don't have. My first boyfriend was dark-skinned, I think he was from Barbados or something. Kind of Tony Kanal coloring. I grew up listening to funk, and steeped in its culture by my dad - Bootsy Collins, Rick James, etc. My first concert was Rick James in 5th grade - Superfreak, yea! :) Woohoo! I had just moved back to live with my mom, and he was coming to Dallas and I told her I just HAD to go see him! So we went: my brother, my mother and me. My mom said we were the only white people there (I didn't even notice). I do remember him coming on stage with a gigantic joint. I mean several people had to hold it! LOL.

Anyway the second time I heard the speech I was heading to church for a care group meeting and it brought tears to my eyes. He is such an inspirational leader and our nation is truly blessed that he lived.

"We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."
"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood."

"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

"I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."

Amen to that.

1 comment:

David said...

I wrote about MLK yesterday actually. I think it is an important day for a variety of reasons. I think MLK was such a one of a kind figure that he was able to speed up the social inertia to advent change in a country that is often so reluctant to change. I also think that yesterday should serve as a reminder that there is so much more that needs to be done to make this country all that it can be. I don't think we should be complacent in saying look how great things are now. Certainly there isn't a person alive in America today that hasn't had thier lives affected for the better by Dr. King's work, but I think we should also look to the future and think about what sorts of things can be done to eventuate his dream. Because we certainly aren't there yet.