As I think about this MLK Day, I am so proud of our Bryan/College Station community because of how we chose to march together and rise above all the racial conflict that grips our nation. Our coming together to celebrate strength and diversity sets the standard for our nation and for others to witness and meet. Community. That is a powerful word. I have learned that “community” can be thought of as a place of shared responsibility. We all have a responsibility for the health and vitality of our community. And, celebrating and embracing differences is one of the ways we make our community healthy and vital.
When I think about what community means from this perspective, my first thought is, “Where do I need to improve to be the best community member I can be?” Part of that answer lies in my need to continue to grow in awareness of where injustice has happened and to grow in assertiveness to bring about change (first within myself). I must ask myself, “Do my own children know why a sanitation truck leads the MLK March?” (You may find the answer here). “Do my children know the Black National Anthem?” “Have I taught my children about all African American leaders or just the ones our history books have endorsed?” I have learned the hard way (thank you, George Lee) that during Black History month, I’ve selected who we celebrate. And this is wrong. Who am I as a privileged white woman to decide who our children should and should not learn about in celebrating Black History month?
Honestly, I was scared of Malcolm X. But, I was not scared of Christopher Columbus. That is not right. We need a Rosa Parks, a Pope Francis, a Malcolm X, a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We need to learn from each of these people. My children deserve to learn a full history, not one selected by a place of privilege; not a “history” I choose to tell them. God continues to put people in my life who challenge my thinking. I hope I choose to challenge others as well.
“…Facing the rising sun of our new day begun; Let us march on ‘till victory is won.”