I will keep this short and sweet (well, at least I try). Take a serious look at the picture above. What goes through your mind? I bet I can guess. Are you thinking “What in the hell is wrong with people these days?” or “That is so disrespectful” or “Things are getting worse and worse”? Well you should be
Now think about what this really says about how the younger generation views Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Now think about how the rest of the country celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. each year. Now think about what you do each year to pay homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We’ll come back to that. Let me begin with how my week started off with some disturbing news about MLK events here in the capital city…
As I sat at a conference table having a conversation about local MLK day events, I looked around the room and noticed that people weren’t excited about the MLK celebrations; many didn’t seem excited about MLK day period. In fact, it seemed as if some people just wanted to move on with the conversation. I thought to myself, “nobody really cares about this holiday in this room” and then I thought, “People were mostly engaged because we got the day off”. Being a black man I felt bad about how the conversation was going yet I felt even worse knowing that this wasn’t just happening where I was working at. This is something that has been happening across the country for some years now.
One of the most important people in our country’s history is being celebrated this upcoming Monday and we were excited about a short workweek. And by the looks of these party fliers, the youth are excited just to take advantage of having Monday off from school and work too. They have gone far enough to put Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s face on the flier looking like a gangster. It started out a couple years ago when one flier with MLK on it made the news. Now more and more outrageous fliers and promotions are taking advantage of Dr. Kings image and message. Trust my word, before you know it you will see a promo video of MLK promoting some party with half off shots of Ciroc. If this isn’t a wake up call I don’t know what is.
Here’s an interesting question. Has Dr. Martin Luther King become an object of pacification for us? Is he the go to icon for civil rights and we’re just supposed to give him his recognition and keep it moving? Are we supposed to just be stuck in the past? Is he the end all of civil rights change? You would think so by the current state of black unity and progression. It’s seems as if society wants us to stay distracted and not focus on the future of leadership. And it’s obvious that we’re not meant to be stuck in the past because the younger generation doesn’t even respect all that Dr. Martin Luther King has done. They disrespect his image and legacy because they do not feel connected to him or the civil rights movement. It’s self-destructive and whose fault is that?
Instead of getting bigger and bigger every year, this holiday is becoming more of a ‘going through the motions’ type of situation. Of course some special programming on television, radio, and online medias will be in abundance. There are the marches and speaking engagements that take place as well. But if you’re sitting in a meeting and somebody asks ‘Hey what’s going on for Martin Luther King Day?” then you know times have changed.
But as always I try to think of solutions. Let’s start a conversation about how we can keep the legacy alive while focusing on the future. Let’s spotlight new leadership on this day. Let’s focus on the new fight that we endure today on this holiday. Let’s create a family tradition on this day. Let’s take back the streets on this day. Let’s not just take the day off on this day. #IMJUSTSAYING
READ MORE OF MY RANTS HERE
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