Friday, April 4, 2008

A Day of Reflection

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life was sacrificed on this day April 4, 1968, at 6:01pm.

There are a variety of reasons why this man died, but the premise is better summarized in a parable.
Two men are given the task of running a race where the Grand Prize is justice, equality, financial stability and advancement. The race had begun, but only one of the men running the race was literally held back for 100 years, while the other men were allowed to take off, dashing towards the finish line, where the people who sponsored the race, and different sections of the audience were simply appalled over the fact the second runner up got to the finish line and actually completed the race. The second runner up knew that the odds were against him when he set out to run the race, but his very life and that of others depended on the completion of the race. Some of the people in the audience saw that the race was in the first runner's favor, and start to boo when the second runner up had the nerve to continue running! Although the first runner ran and completed the race years before the second runner up, for some reason, some of the members of the audience were so disturbed by the second runner up even showing up at the finish line, until they set out for the tracking field, and stoned the second runner up to death. Why? Because the second runner up was too dark and wanted equality. The second runner up also complained about running a race that was geared towards the first man winning. Sections of the audience thought that the second runner up had a lot of nerve and that he should have felt lucky to even be in the race - never mind the outcome. Some in the audience wanted to know why the second runner up even wanted to run in the race, knowing that he was being held back and the odds of winning were clearly against him. Well, the second runner up ran the race because he felt that he had a chance to change the outcome, despite the odds. There were several members in the audience - red, yellow, white and brown, that supported and cheered the second runner on, despite the odds.
The second runner up kept running, building up momentum because he could see the finish line and believed that there was power in completion.

So goes the story of what happened to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

If you really think about it, Dr. King Jr., was a God fearing, family man that believed in practicing what he preached. His desire to have clean water, provide a decent living environment for his wife and children, proper education for his children and equal opportunities for growth and advancement for every American, along with the right to worship God in a safe place - is what he non-violently fought and died for.

Pure and simple.

We've come a long way in America thanks to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Reverend Abernathy and others that laid the foundation for black, red, yellow, white and brown people to have the opportunity to walk down the street, sit at a restaurant shoulder to shoulder, attend theatre, sitting side by side or even travel throughout this beautiful country - and not worry about race/creed/religion being the determining factor.

The late Yolanda King had welcomed me into her home here in Los Angeles, CA and shared some of the most rare and precious photos taken of the four generations of men that she came from. It was an amazing journey through decades of passed down generations of knowledge, integrity and wisdom. Yes, Yolanda King helped pave the way through her active participation in spreading the word via a play entitled " Achieving THE DREAM". It was magnificent. Linda Hopkins was amazing as a guest vocalist, adding so much emotion to her song. "Achieving THE DREAM" was very inclusive. Emphasizing the thoughts of the late Prophet Ghandi. The play, "Achieving THE DREAM", really made one visualize the importance of world peace.

Donzaleigh Abernathy shared her Dad's story with me one late afternoon up at Dawn Sutherland's lovely home here in Los Angeles,CA. We laughed, talked about fine jewelry, and cried over the loss of family. You too Donzaleigh, have made sacrifices and have proven to work diligently towards a better, more beautiful America.

Thank you Coretta Scott King, Reverend Ralph and Juanita Abernathy, President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Senator Ted Kennedy, and the entire Kennedy Family, James Peck, John Lewis, A. Phillip Randolph, The Freedom Riders, Dr. Elizabeth Parent, Glen and Helen Smiley, Stevie Wonder, Dr. Nathan Hare and Dr. Julia Hare, Dr. Richard King, Dr. Asa and Pat Hilliard III, Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, Dominique DiPrima, Gladys Evans, Bertha Sims - Rankins, Dorothy Sims, Theresa and Reverend Gideon Evans, Herman and Bobby Horn, Janice Tolbert, Walter and Bernadine Towns, James Zwerg, Vernon Johns, Claudette Colvin, Rosa Parks, Reverend Bennett, Albert Thomas Jr.( who at 40 yrs old, was the first Black man to stand up to the blatant miss treatment of Black men at the Clorox Corp., in Oakland, CA) and James and Valerie Edmonson Jr., of Helena Arkansas, and his nephews, Dr. Percy Bland, and the late Byron Bland of Helena Arkansas, who recently earned a PhD at the age of 42, and passed shortly there after. Byron Bland was a fine example of achieving the American dream via higher education, that Dr. King Jr. spoke of. Yes, these men and women, along with a host of others, stepped up to the helms and clearly driving through racial hatred, political opposition and even death. This was done so that people of color can sleep, eat and work in a country that provides so many opportunities to achieve the American Dream!

I'm grateful to live in a time and age where racial tolerance and cultural acceptance is taught to our children.

We are living during a period of time where change is inevitable.
Either get with it, or it will steam roll right past you like a Pullman Sleeper Car.

Please read the book "Partners to History" written by Donzaleigh Abernathy, Forward written by the late John F. Kennedy Jr.