Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr Day quote

When I opened Google this morning I saw that today’s logo was dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr., as well it should be! When I clicked on the logo, I was taken to Google’s search page where all manner of MLK Jr. information lies. The first thing that comes up is NationalService.gov, a site that encourages people to make MLK Jr. Day a day on instead of a day off and where you can find opportunities to serve in your community. The next thing that comes up is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Wikipedia page with the history of his life and legacy. And third, from the “in the news” section, a list of stores that are open and closed today…. In fact when you click Google’s “News” tab it takes you to even more listings of stores that are open and closed today.

What is disheartening is that today has become merely another bank holiday. Another blessed day off work to run errands or go to Disney or what have you. And I even understand that work and the daily grind can be hard. Days off are precious.

Martin Luther King Jr Day

I was talking to someone the other day who had never gone back and watched MLK Jr’s ” I Have a Dream” speech. It’s available on You Tube, right there for all of our eyes to see. And King didn’t just give that speech, he gave a great many more that are poignant and important and inspiring. His “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech is wonderful! Now, I didn’t scold my friend for having never seen it, I merely┬ásuggested that maybe this was a good year to go back and watch it.

I get it. That was then and this is now. That’s history. This is where our focus should be. The past is the past and we should leave it there. What I want to point out, is that perhaps the things that King was preaching and speeching and dreaming about are not just issues that are behind us. Look at our political climate. Look at the relationship between the races in America. It ain’t good, guys!! I think that if Martin Luther King, Jr. were to come back to life today, expecting to see his dreams realized, he’d be disappointed. It’s the year 2016 and we are lightyears behind where we should be!

I don’t know how to fix it all. If I did, I’d run for office! But I know when things feel wrong. I know when it feels like there is more that we as a country should be doing. More that I as an individual who believes in freedom, should be doing! And I wish I’d discovered NationalService.gov in time to be able to volunteer for some of the projects going on in my area. Next year I’ll know that there are other people who believe that today should be a day on, not just another day off!

Martin Luther King Jr. Quote

Today, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, please go back and watch the speeches that were made and maybe pick up a few books about King’s life. If you have the change to volunteer somewhere, this is a great day to do so. Yes, our past is behind us. That’s how time works. But being able to remember and learn from our past, that’s a gift that we greatly underuse.

I HAVE A DREAM

I’VE BEEN TO THE MOUNTAINTOP

And so many more…

Martin Luther King, Jr. Speeches

Martin Luther King Jr Day Let freedom ring

Here’s a poem I wrote about King a few years ago.

The Butler

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It is impossible to watch Lee Daniels’ The Butler and not shed a tear. It is impossible to walk out of the theater and not be changed.
The Butler is a drama, an action film, a love story between a father and son. It made me cry (about every 15 minutes) and it made me think. In fact, it’s ability to make you think is perhaps the most important and enduring reason to go see this film.
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I have to confess something. I am guilty of ignorance. I look at our time and think that these issues must be long past because it is 2013 and i think ‘how can bigotry and racism survive our modern age?’ I am guilty of indifference in an age when these events seem to be taking place all over again because I’m too busy or too concerned with my own life. I’m guilty of knowing that our country is currently facing hard truths depicted in this very film. Truths that, for too long, have been ignored or swept under the carpet. Or worse believed to be corrected.

Do you realize we are a mere 50 years out from these events in our country’s history? And only a 150 years out from slavery itself. That is baffling!

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Screenwriter, Danny Strong (nerds-you will best know him as Jonathan from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) has crafted a tale of truths. An honest portrayal of our history that desperately needs to be told and remembered.

Forrest Whitaker, Oprah, Cuba Gooding Jr, Lenny Kravitz, Robin Williams, James Marsden, Alan Rickman, John Cusack, Liev Schreiber and so many more turned out powerful performances.

In an industry obsessed with beauty and the bottom dollar, this film is beautiful for a different reason. The beauty comes out of the ugliness of our country’s history. The reality of events that happened, not so long ago.
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I walked out of the theater moved and confused. I felt a strange dicotomy of both shame and pride in this country.

Today is the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. And this is the movie we need to be watching!! Especially now. Especially today.

Go see it.