January 19, 2015

Do the right thing. Always.

Experience Optimism MLK
Two weeks ago, I attended the movie "Selma."

The movie depicted Martin Luther King's leadership of the civil rights movement in the United States in 1965; specifically, it detailed the events leading up to the march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge as black Americans made their way to Montgomery to register to vote.

Beaten and tear-gassed on the first attempt, Martin Luther King knelt and prayed and then turned his followers around on the second attempt. Although they could have continued to march, he feared the violence that would ensue and determined to wait for the adjudication of a court order to limit or enhance the nonviolent actions of the civil rights marches. This was a wise, respectful, and much criticized decision. 

Such was the plight of the negro in the south in the 1950s and 1960s. As I watched the movie, I cried at the indignity that was placed upon fellow human beings and the grace with which it was accepted. Their grace was a survival mechanism, I'm sure. Look away, walk away, and live to fight another battle, another day. 

It saddens me that the battle continues today; not for all, but for some. Recent shootings of young black males in cities like Ferguson, MO and Cleveland, OH and the choke hold death of Eric Garner in New York, NY highlight the fact that black males must raise their hands in submission rather than question why they are being approached by a law enforcement officer. 

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States. Government offices are closed and it has been declared a national day of service. I wonder if it should instead be named a day of integrity; a day dedicated to doing the right things, and being just towards all.

Martin Luther King said, "The time is always right to do right." I think that time is now. 
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