Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Christian minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. (1)
Born January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, he is most known and celebrated around the world with his famous, 'I Have a Dream' speech, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom August 28, 1963, in which he called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States. (2)
One of the most widely used, repeated and quoted portions of the speech are: I have a dream that my four little 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 today!" (3)
As a child, we moved a lot. The military does that to you, and you simply learn your way around the world in a way most people either don't understand or cannot cope with all of the shifting around. I used to hate every move we encountered because I thought my parents were being cruel. "We JUST got here! Why do we have to move?!," I would ask. It wasn't until we landed our longest life stint in Atlanta, Georgia that I could finally be able to breathe easy and accept my life as it was: fabulous, unique (or You-knee-que as my sister would refer to it) and what I made of it after years of trial and continuous errors.
It was harder on my siblings with each move than it was for me, for they experienced the cruelties of the world that seemed to compound everywhere we went. Filled with judgments, heartache, racism and all the things Dr. King spoke about nullifying, I wondered why on Earth all of these things were happening and intensifying. If his speech is heard and felt all around the world, why does it seem like the cruelties/violence are deepening? Then it hit me like a ton of bricks: there is a HUGE difference in hearing things versus listening. So many of us think we are listening, but have built up an entire list of things we are going to say in response to what we have heard while the person is talking. That is NOT listening at all! That's simply letting someone talk. Unfortunately, we do the same thing with reading. We 'speed read' just to say we've read something or to finish an assignment without interpreting for ourselves or questioning what is placed directly in front of us.
If Dr. King's speech can be read and heard via the world wide web and is all up and through curriculums (as I recall it being taught in every school system) then Why oh WHHHHY is this world crying so deeply? Are we uprooting our past with the intention to help and heal one another...or are we 'listening' only to the good to show face and hop on the bandwagon of the latest trends? When we celebrate and honor Dr. King's legacy on a day off, do we understand what it is we are even celebrating? His legacy still lives on- and if you truly believe in his vision, then you know what an honor it is to be a part of it; for we are the future he saw! Red, yellow, black, white, green, or purple. Man/woman. Young/old. Level of education, occupation, financial status, sexual preference or gender identification matters not, and is certainly not the topic at hand: PEACE is PEACE. We all bleed blood and have been given our own minds to think for ourselves, speak for ourselves and act in the peace-filled ways he spoke of. We are all the same at the base of everything, and should you so find that peace is something you've never experienced or only dream of, be of good cheer and know that it is entirely possible...and if you speak it over yourSelf while walking in it, you will, in fact, become it. Then you can take your peace to the next level and share it in the way Dr. King displayed to us.
So on this day, and the days moving forward, I welcome you to open your hearts and minds to the notion that we are all one. When one of us hurts, somewhere else, another one does too. BUT there is great hope in all of this: and that is when one of us is filled with faith, hope, love, joy, peace and all things that swing on the side of what I like to call the 'Positivity Pendulum,' then there is a greater chance for that to be spread all across the globe like butter.
Says the little girl who still believes in world peace. May we all get there, from the inside out. Humbly. Fearlessly. Unapologetically. Bit(e) by Bit(e.), and by listening carefully to what we are told.
My love to Dr. Martin Luther King's family, friends, colleagues and all of our future generations. We are the ones we have been waiting for!
The Smitten Chef
Works Cited, (1,2,3): Wikipedia