standing on the shoulders of kings
January 16, 2017
This is the first time in my adult life that I have worked for a company that gave us MLK Jr. day as a holiday.
While I wish I could spend the holiday in some way honoring the fight that he led, and I know there are a number of activities in the area, I am very agoraphobic today, and the idea of going out in public is far too daunting. So I will have to settle for speaking about how it affects me.
Yes, me. An average, middle-aged white woman.
I never knew the man, obviously. He died the same year I was born. I never marched with him. I never participated in the fight he led. But my life was touched by him none-the-less.
As a child, I grew up in a very white neighborhood in a very white suburb. I didn’t have a lot of people of color in my life, unless we’re counting excessive suntan as color. Sitting here thinking about it, I’m having trouble placing any before we helped a refugee family get settled in an apartment in the same complex as my grandmother. I was very young, so I don’t actually remember where they were from, but they were different.
Their skin was darker than mine, their eyes shaped different. They spoke in a strange language. But that didn’t matter to me. The little girl who was my age was my friend and I did what I could at that age to make sure she knew that. We played and I tried to teach her English, while she tried to teach me her language. We laughed a lot.
As I grew older, of course, I began to encounter other people of color. I always approached friendship with them the same way I did my white friends. People are people are people, was how I saw it. I had family members who were prejudice and even before I reached puberty I couldn’t understand the mind set.
Since then, my group of friends is a kaleidoscope of color and languages and religions. My friends are many and diverse, and we face a different fight…and in some ways, we still face the same fight. Equality has not yet found us.
As we head into the inaguration at the end of the week, we are looking in the eye of that fight. The next battle is at hand and it is up to us to win. We have to stand up and demand equality…for our brothers and sisters of color, for our transgendered family, for our lesbian sisters, for our gay brothers, for all of us.
Equality is not partial to anyone. Equality demands that all are one, and treated the same. The groundwork for our fight has been laid by Dr. King and those who fought with him. It’s time for us to stand tall, arm in arm, and not back down.