Today the nation recognizes a true hero worth remembering –– Martin Luther King Jr. Textbooks will tell you that Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most recognized spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968, but he’s more than that. He’s an inspiration for a better world.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
It’s no secret that our nation, and the world, suffers from racial division. A fracture that never should have continued into the 21st century This inequality based on appearance is sickening and it needs to end. As a white man I can’t even begin to understand what it’s like to live in fear strictly because of the color of your skin, but I can recognize the hatred.
I moved in with my grandma to help care for her around this time last year. My cousin and her now two-year-old son already lived with her but they needed the extra help. Living at home again was great. I got the chance to reconnect with my family and I spent precious time with my grandma before she passed. Throughout this time I became an “uncle” of sorts to my cousin’s kid. We all bonded as a family unit. We all mourned as my grandma passed with us at her bedside.
This innocent two-year-old loved his great-grandma as much as he loved playing outside on a warm sunny Minnesota day. He’s a great kid with a bright, energetic personality. He’s also half black.
Racial division is nothing new. I’m an American after all. I’m ashamed to say that it’s something I see every day. Growing up I never understood why such inequality still persists to this day. I’ve been angry but I never truly understood how evil racism was until I witnessed people target this two-year-old boy. This smiling, bubbly and bright little toddler full of imagination and creativity was going to grow up persecuted for something completely out of his control. Just the thought infuriates me.
I believe if Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, he’d cry. Over 50 years after his death, the work, the marches, the protests filled with thousands of people all seeking a better tomorrow, aren’t something you only see in the history books anymore. They’re still happening because evil and hatred is still happening.
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
Recognizing my privilege, I made a vow to never tolerate anything racist. So when a family member utters a slur, I shut them down. I disconnect from them. If a contributor to the Daily Planet engages in such behavior, their privilege to participate is forever terminated. My tolerance for such actions doesn’t exist.
It’s time to be better, white Americans. Stop ignoring the issue. Do not forget the past. Recognize the mistakes of your ancestors and create a brighter tomorrow. Change only happens when you take action. Even a small pebble can make waves. Let’s each be a boulder of progression. Thank you, Dr. King, for being a monument of courage.
“Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”
All quotes are Martin Luther King Jr’s