2008 MLK Holiday Reflections – Part II

Today, the M. L. King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change suggests that we Remember, Celebrate & Act. So I share these thoughts with you & LaTonya: let’s REMEMBER that the dinner for the homeless started by King colleague Hosea Williams typically feeds 75,000 folks on this King Day, Easter, Thanksgiving & Christmas, CELEBRATE that Dr. King’s work is known and non-violence methods followed all over the world & ACT out our belief in the possibility of an African-American president in 2008 by casting our votes for Barack Obama. You see, if we & LaTonya can model this type of thinking, attitude & behavior for ourr children, the counterintuitive actions of aging Civil Rights Leaders will hold less sway with them, as they stands on our strong shoulders, having stronger shoulders still on which their own children can stand.

As for these aging, and perhaps cynical icons, I suggest we of the younger generation(s) exercise a bit of compassion and forgiveness. I suspect that their seemingly cruel words and misguided deeds come from a space of good intentions. How could the people who literally bled and died for the freedom that has Barack’s candidacy even be possible, stand in the way of its fruition? I suspect they intend to protect us from ourselves, thinking we’re not ready to assume such a huge responsibility and fulfill on such a profound commitment.

I also think their attitudes may emanate from a community-shared place of self-hatred and self-doubt ingrained from as far back as slave ships during the Middle Passage, all the way to Don Imus’ reinstatement after his unfathomable nappy headed hoes comment. Unfortunately, the roots of our inhumanity to each other run deep & strong. We must face down our fears courageously, consistently and collaboratively if we are ever to exorcise the age-old demons of racism, ageism & sexism, as well as their more current cousins ‘sexual- orientationism’ and ‘socio-economism’.

There is much heavy lifting to do in this holy work, but I, like you, trust that Barack represents the kind of leadership, armed with audacious hope and generous inclusiveness, which will see it through. What there is to do is develop the awareness of our endless options and expansive possibilities, and move ahead, despite the naysayers and dark moments of doubt. So be peaceful in knowing that all we need to OVERCOME lies within us. Let’s be confident in our abilities, set our expectations boldly and sing in one undaunted voice: WE HAVE OVERCOME, WE HAVE OVERCOME, WE HAVE OVERCOME, TODAY…OH, OH, DEEP IN MY HEART, I DO KNOW, WE HAVE OVERCOME TODAY!!

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