Today we celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We all know a little bit about his speech, "I Have A Dream." For myself, I know the basics of that speech and what he was fighting for, but I didn't realize some things about Dr. King. Things that we have in common.
As you can see in my profile picture, I'm a white woman. I grew up in a town that was all white. I didn't go to school with anyone black, Hispanic, Puerto-Rican, or anything like that until I was in middle school. This school encompassed 5 small towns, and there was one black family. Then about my junior year in high school, a black family moved in down the road from me and my friend and I hung out with them. I actually ended up in a relationship with their cousin for over a year.
I don't really feel that I can say I can relate with black people. I feel like I don't know them very well and it creates fear because of that uncertainty.
I sat down yesterday and opened my book: The Big Book of Catholic Customs and Traditions. I was looking to see what they had in store for activities that I could do with the kids today in regards to Martin Luther King, Jr. And lo and behold, he and I have similar views. Who knew?
Did you know...
1. ... that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican? National Black Republican Association
2. ... that Martin Luther King, Jr. studied theology?
3. ... that Martin Luther King, Jr. would more than likely spoken out against abortion in this past election? Pro-Life News featuring Alveda King, niece to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
4. ... that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist minister that deeply rooted his spirituality into his work?
5. ... that Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial?
6. ... that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican and signed the Emancipation Proclamation?
7. ... that Dr. King and George Washington are the only two American presidents in history to have their birthdays named national holidays?
Did you know these things? How much did you know? I didn't know many and couldn't believe how much I had in common with him. I think society has become more separated since Dr. King's death, not closer together. Yes, we voted in a black president, but that doesn't make us closer. I'm trying to find the right words to explain what I mean. Because we point out each other's differences so much, it creates disjointedness in our country. Women think they have to fight men for power, and other minority groups think they are in a constant struggle with whites. And it's because we don't fully understand each other. I'll be the first one to admit that I don't understand black people. That may sound bad coming out, but it's true and I bet a lot of black people would say the same about whites.
It's because we haven't taken the time to understand each other's side. If we did that, we might find more common ground, as I did when I looked into Dr. King a little bit more. I have always had respect for him for fighting for his people and his beliefs. That took a lot of strength. I don't know what kind of life he must have had to endure growing up and I never will. That creates a little distance. But what I didn't know, and what we are NOT taught, was that we also have similarities. And if I had known this a long time ago, I may not have been as afraid.
So one thing I can learn from today and I hope you all pass this along to family and friends: Knowledge is power, and that knowledge can lead to unity. Ignorance creates fear and subsequently, segregation from each other. I think we still have a long way to go....
Speaking the Truth
We don’t like to speak the truth about evil because we’re going to hurt somebody. Let me tell you, you are going to hurt somebody, but that Somebody is God. If you would rather hurt God than your neighbor, there is something wrong with your spirituality. It’s your obligation to speak the truth and everyone can either take it or leave it. But truth must be in us. We live in such poverty of the truth today.
- Mother Angelica
- Mother Angelica