I woke up this morning, half expecting to write about race and MLK. Last year, I posted a picture of him, his mug shot from Birmingham. I listened to his letter from jail. I cried. I wanted the world to see that he wasn't some sanitized Saint, but he did what he had to for justice.
This year, this morning, I didn't wake up feeling so moved or inspired. But a little raw, a little sad; bitter.
I was going to write about how disappointed I am that after this man fought for the rights of so many, was killed just because he demanded that he and all people be seen and considered human, we are saddled with a president who makes racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and flat out stupid comments on a daily basis.
And more so, in so many ways, he is a reflection of the state of our nation.
Our cities are still segregated.
Our people are still harassed, assaulted and killed because of the color of their skin.
There are still places that I, even with my light skin and racially ambiguous appearance, and other people like me will never really fit, because someone will always be there to remind us that we "don't belong".
So much of what Reverend Dr. King had to say then, still resonates now.
I scrolled through my feeds, slightly irritated by and occasionally rolling my eyes at posts cheerfully boasting personal facts without any thought for why today is any different from yesterday or the day before. Or worse, posts celebrating the "day off" without even a mention of Dr. King.
And then, I saw this image. And I was filled with pride, patriotism, even.
Reverend Dr. King was not just the leader of the Civil Rights Movement, some topical subject that we talk about during Black History Month.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a great American hero.
Maybe not the America of the Revolution or the scrappy, “anyone can make it if they try hard enough” America.
But MY America; the America of the POC, the underrepresented, the “marginalized” (who by the way, don’t “come from” and weren’t created “by the margins” but were shoved there by colonialism, capitalism, and empire).
Because my rights didn’t come from the Constitution, they came from Dr. King’s fight. My right to free speech, my right to be married to my White husband and mother my bi-racial child, and even my right to grow up in the house I was raised in, the deed for which requested that the house not be sold or rented to “Hispanics or Negros”.
Because of his fight, I don’t just get to be seen as an American, I get to be seen as a human being; if not in the eyes of everyone, at least in my own.
And thank God for that.
So today, I honor and hold deep, deep, deep gratitude for Reverend Dr. King, his wife, Coretta Scott King, his children, and all those who fought and marched and sacrificed and prayed and wept and dreamed alongside him.
We haven’t gotten to the Promised Land yet, but America is better because of you.