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What Does MLK Day Mean To You? 2006

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Mistletoe Angel
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0 posted 01-17-2006 12:40 AM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

I thought it would be a good idea to each year continue to reflect on what this day means to each and every one of us, as I feel over the years his living memory has continued to blur and he tends to be treated often as an excuse for a three-day weekend, when it's crucial that we make an effort to recapture the true history of Dr. King as much of what he fought against is resurfacing or still with us today.


I believe King is not legendary so much because he simply "had a dream". I believe him to be legendary because he was a man who was willing to take great risks and spoke great truth to power. He was born without great wealth or prestige, nor ever belonged to an elected office; he very much blossomed from the public level himself, and, along with Gandhi, the other legendary nonviolence symbols of the 20th century, demonstrated how great influence and power truly comes from the heart of the public, and, essentially, it's the outsiders that complete the greatest achievements of liberty and progress.

His story in recent memory has continued to be addressed in an abridged version. His quintessential "dream speech" continues to be broadcasted, but we just rarely hear of his great indictments on the Vietnam War, the military-industrial complex and poverty (the latter which he campaigned a solution for in his final three years of his life, a part of his life ever too often largely overlooked). We rarely hear of how during his time there was deep mainstream antagonizing of him, from accusations from many corners accusing him of being a Communist and antagonizing by the FBI. We rarely hear of King's connections of civil rights with remedying Third World struggles. And when we hear of King's last day in Memphis, all we seem to hear about is his assassination, but barely anything about what he was doing in Memphis; supporting a garbage worker's strike and organizing a Poor Peoples' Campaign that demanded affordable housing and decent-paying jobs as basic civil rights regardless of the color of your skin or background.

Moreover, I believe often we tend to be pushed in the comfort zone, believing that all these struggles existed only in the past and we have grown up beyond them all. Indeed we have made great progress in many respects, especially moving beyond the Jim Crow era, but King's vision also remains as urgent as ever, as there remains other deep injustices that require resolve, including disenfranchisement in presidential elections, the inequalities in some urban school districts, the deep concerns of apathy among our youth, the FBI and NSA spying on peace and nonviolent groups, etc.

King ever too often tends to get treated like a reprieve of sorts, when he is worth so much more to each and every one of us. We're all worth much more, and that's why I believe it is essential that we really seize days like this and make a genuine effort to "keep the dream alive" so to speak, and in truly doing it we must not only treat this day as a day of remembrance, but a day of action and activism as well, and that's exactly why today I headed up to Jefferson High School in Northeast Portland with KBOO to embrace diversity in public education.


What does this day mean to you?

Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

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1 posted 01-17-2006 01:16 PM       View Profile for Mysteria   Email Mysteria   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Mysteria

Noah, This is an article I read on MLK Day, and thought you may like to read it.

Being a white woman in Canada, what he meant to me actually was change, and justice for all. I do honor this man and his life's work.  

Here is the site I acquired that document Noah.
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2 posted 01-17-2006 03:39 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

It's another opportunity to set aside all gender/color/ethnic/religious barriers, and see that we are all basically the same, and want much the same things in be able to pursue a dream, irregardless of the obstacles placed before us by non-thinkers and non-dreamers.
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