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Archive for January 22nd, 2013

The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Lynn and Altu in Alexandria, EgyptI believe I live in an amazing time. Humans will always strive toward a utopia that is out of reach, but things are pretty good where I sit.

The Good Stuff
I’m an educated, white adult female who looks a way that society approves of. I have no visible handicaps. I have plentiful clean water, transportation, no need to walk for hours or days for medical care.

I have enough income to make a living with a computer and my good brain, and some determination. I can go places alone, make financial decisions for myself, even have a meal with a male friend without the permission of my husband.

I can be married for the reason that I love my spouse and not because I need a financial partner or caretaker. If my spouse dies, I will still be a financially viable person on my own.

Counting My Blessings with Open Eyes
I live in the USA, where women can own property (I purchased a house with my own signature in 1992). In other countries, women are still legally property of their fathers and/or husbands. There are places where women are allowed to study to become physicians and even practice medicine, but they are not allowed to drive themselves to work.

There are a lot of places where a single/widowed woman is reduced to begging to make a living. There are places where abusing a woman is legal, because she is your property.

We had a young woman die in India this month from group physical and sexual abuse. Her name was Jyoti Singh Pandey. Her father tells her story here. Not for the faint of heart. YES this relates to Dr. King’s legacy. Yes, it does. Equality is Equality.

History Must Not be Forgotten
When our country was founded, people with dark skin were property, too. “Blacks” were slaves. The history of our constitution and very early laws, can show how much this impacted and still impacts this country. We continue to grow and change, shift and wake up.

It’s a slow process, like evolution rather than a volcano. I am enough of an optimist to believe it will continue. Notice in the infographic below, the Voting Rights Act was instituted in merely 1965 (I remember that year), which put into place the right of Black citizens to vote. What? What? Incredible… that’s a crazy fact. Read more here…. about southern blacks in 1965 (and non-literate or non-English-speaking citizens) and how this changed their world.

Continuing Segregation
I find that when I visit cities in the south, the skin color of people on one side of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive is darker than those on the other side of the same street. In my neighborhood and my city, we are naturally integrated. One of my very best neighbors, who changed the quality of my block by moving in, has darker skin than me.

My City Rocks
My best friend was born in Ethiopia, in eastern Africa. She has dark skin and yet in this city (Lansing, Michigan) we can meet, become close friends, live near one another, go to the same church and hang at the same places without it being even noticed. It’s normal here. There are many cities, even in the USA, where there are parallel societies and people only integrate sometimes at school or work. (See me with friend Altu in Alexandria, Egypt, at the Mediterranean, in December 2004, upper right.)

I am grateful for what I have. I am grateful for Dr. King, who led a multi-racial, multi-gendered movement toward equality for ALL.

For all. Race equality is not fully reached yet, though it is legally in place. We still fight inequality in gender and marriage, which saddens me.

We are the Human Race. HUMAN Race.
We are ONE race. We are the HUMAN race. Whenever I have a chance to fill out a form which asks my race, I look hard for the “human” choice. My skin is not the crayon color “white.” My friend’s skin is not the crayon color “black.” Yes, those are convenient words to generalize as we speak. Still, there is no such thing as “white society” or “black society.” It’s far too general.

Dr. King’s Life and Legacy
I’ve written about my gratitude for the movement Dr. King led while he was alive, and which still continues without him. People continue to find my writings, after MLK Day has passed.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from Allison Morris of OnlineCollegeCourses.com. She offered to share an infographic about Dr. King’s life with my readers. I know nothing about her organization, but I do like the infographic and thought maybe you might, as well. (If you click it, you’ll find yourself on her website.)

Alison writes:

Though not affiliated with The King Center, I actually work with a small team of designers, and we build and design graphics for Internet resource sites. Our primary goal with these pieces is to be able to make a connection between visualization and learning. That said, in light of MLK day approaching, our most recent graphic chronicles Dr. King’s life and his personal achievements:

MLK Infographic

May we all appreciate what we do have, and keep our eyes open to those pieces of improvement, even utopia, which need more work to happen.

World, I love you. All of you. Go in peace.