For me, today kicks off a week-long celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. Yes, I know as a nation it is celebrated the 3rd Monday in January, HOWEVER, his bornday is January 15th.
So why do I celebrate beginning on his actual birthday up until the nation’s recognized holiday? Well in short, because I can. I am a small business owner, I am the boss. I don’t need anyone telling me when and how long I get to celebrate one of the most important historical figures in my life and to my culture.
On this blog, I have written about Dr. King more than 6 times. The most of any contributor, past or present, and I am unapologetic about it – especially in today’s world. There was a time when I was obviously suffering a severe lapse in judgment and I decided to not talk about Dr. King…what in God’s name was I thinking?
I don’t know about you but all my life I’ve been a black man. Being a black man in America carries an extra weight of responsibility, self-awareness, and burden. You see unlike others, I can never disguise who I am, and nor should I (and neither should you, for that matter). Dr. King’s progressive message of civil rights for all gave me hope and pride. I was proud that a black man stood up for his beliefs even until his untimely end. Which is another reason why Dr. King’s birthday and national holiday mean so much to me because he was killed in my hometown, Memphis, TN in 1968. Although it’s been more than 50 years since his death, this city honors him multiple times throughout the year, every year and I am more proud of that than Beale Street and Elvis, combined. If you visit Memphis, go to the National Civil Rights Museum or don’t talk to me about your visit.
I’m in my mid-forties now, and to see that we as Americans are still fighting the same battles as 50, 60, 70, 80 and centuries ago, is just depressing. Think about it, what if you had to defend your skin-color for decades? Can you even imagine fighting the same battles that your great-great-great-great-great-great ancestors had to fight? Can you imagine having to deal with the same discrimination, prejudice, injustice, stereotypes, and slurs that your grandparents dealt with – and having to deal with your own children facing the same ignorance in 2020? It’s tiring!
I am burdened with the ability to empathize with others. I feel sorry for people when they are victimized by racists and prejudice. The attacks on the Jewish community are disheartening and very upsetting. I feel so bad when people attack others solely based on their skin color, sexual preference, and religious beliefs.
So, for as long as I run this blog and have breath in my body, and as long as there is racism, I WILL HONOR DR. KING!