Remembering the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his work toward equity and justice, makes me think of family, so my featured image today is one of a memorable sisters’ trip. We visited the U.S. Airforce Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. As I remember, the chapel, pictured behind us, closed for five years for restorations. We took this shot in 2017, so those repairs should be finished in another few years.
Today, I offer my reflection offered before a wreath laying ceremony, done virtually, at the bust on Dr. King on the campus of Kansas State University. Dr. King spoke at the university shortly before his untimely death at the hands of an assassin. I share this with you.
Please reflect with me.
As we prepare to lay wreaths at the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., let us remember his words, “The ultimate measure of persons is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand at times of challenge and controversy.”
One can hardly acknowledge King’s work toward social Justice and equity without remembering his words of our past and thinking, “Why does this struggle continue today?” Or asking, “Have we learned nothing?”
However, we see hope when, as Amanda Gorman put it, “a skinny little Black girl” steps to the Inauguration podium, and, as Dr. King did, tugs at the conscience of a Nation by telling us that, “the norms and notions of what Just Is, is not always Jus-tice!”
Let us reflect on those eloquent words while we remember Dr. King’s letters from the Birmingham Jail: Lodged, there for “parading without a permit.” For it was not legal for Black Folk to participate in public demonstrations, an exercise NOT for a people deemed “unworthy” or “un-deserving.”
He said, “Injustice is here in Birmingham, if the Negro man cannot exercise his first amendment rights in acts of peaceful assembly demonstrating for change with non-violence.”
Dr. King noted, “They protested for the Negro brothers and sisters smothering in airtight cages of poverty in the midst of an affluent society.” They demonstrated for equity and justice. They were not insurrectionists, putting their feet on desks in hallowed halls and placing their knees upon the throat of democracy where, We. Could. No Longer. Breathe.
Dr. King emphasized, “If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must transcend our, so-called, race, our tribe, our class, and our nation. This means we must develop a world perspective and tear down the walls of separation and hatred to seek common ground and to dissolve hierarchies.”
Further he encouraged for us to, “Rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the hills of creative protest!” “Humans are put on this earth to serve one another, and it must transcend class and privilege.”
Dr. King possessed a deep hope that the world could be a better place for his children and for our children.
May Kansas State University as a community defined by pluralism find the common ground to stand together against darkness and hate to find light and love.
As we close our gathering today, I ask that you greet, even virtually, those around you with your own word or action that communicate peace. “Every effort we make to connect is meaningful.”
So be it…
Thank you for reading my blog. Enjoy this piece of art painted by my talented friend, Carole Geier.