Martin Luther King Day
Over ten years ago, closer to twelve now, Katie and I took a trip to D.C. I was attending a Drupal conference there for work (back when I was a full-time web developer) and we decided to take extra time and see the museums and landmarks.
I will forever remember what Katie wanted on this trip. She wanted a recording of King's "I Have a Dream" speech on her iPod, so she could sit on the steps of the Lincoln memorial and experience and imagine it. I can still see her clearly sitting on the steps in her coat, headphones on, listening to the words of the Reverend and tears silently falling down her cheeks.
The injustice that someone as great as him was murdered and not allowed to continue his work in driving social reform is a terrible tragedy. And it is crucial that people today not gloss over what today is meant to be - a day of remembering and honoring him for his work.
Two years ago, while visiting family in Memphis we went to the Civil Rights Museum which has been built in the motel and surrounding buildings of where he was murdered. It was eye opening for me, and educated me on a lot about the civil rights movement that I had no idea. Things that history class had glossed over or ignored completely.
It's important to understand the magnitude of effort it took to, essentially, turn the dial one or two notches on social injustice. They moved the needle. They changed things. But not completely, leaving more still to be done. It is a fight which requires more figures to stand up and speak out and fight back. Things we are seeing around us, from last year's protests and the riot at the capitol unveiling how many members of law enforcement side with a personality rather than the Constitution.
From the 'I Have a Dream' speech:
We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.
Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.