Monday, January 19, 2009

Reflections on a Day Off

I love a three-day weekend as much as the next person. Often these holidays hold little to no meaning for me--sometimes I can't even remember what the day off commemorates. Today feels pretty different, even different from any other Martin Luther King Jr. Day that has come before. We're at an historical moment, about to inaugurate our first black President, which can I say feels fucking awesome? So I want to take a moment to think about just what it is that we're supposed to think about today.

You can read the entire text here but here are some excerpts from "The Meaning of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday" written by Coretta Scott King on The King Center website.

We commemorate Dr. King’s inspiring words, because his voice and his vision filled a great void in our nation, and answered our collective longing to become a country that truly lived by its noblest principles. Yet, Dr. King knew that it wasn’t enough just to talk the talk, that he had to walk the walk for his words to be credible. And so we commemorate on this holiday the man of action, who put his life on the line for freedom and justice every day, the man who braved threats and jail and beatings and who ultimately paid the highest price to make democracy a reality for all Americans.

The Holiday commemorates America’s pre-eminent advocate of nonviolence --- the man who taught by his example that nonviolent action is the most powerful, revolutionary force for social change available to oppressed people in their struggles for liberation.

We call you to commemorate this Holiday by making your personal commitment to serve humanity with the vibrant spirit of unconditional love that was his greatest strength, and which empowered all of the great victories of his leadership. And with our hearts open to this spirit of unconditional love, we can indeed achieve the Beloved Community of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream.
May we who follow Martin now pledge to serve humanity, promote his teachings and carry forward his legacy into the 21st Century.

And in his words.

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