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Martin Luther King Day 2022

Today we celebrate a man who Elliot called “The President” and then “our King” before I understood who she was talking about. Last Wednesday she wanted to tell me about school – something she reserves for, you know THE VERY SECOND I’m about to tuck her in. It’s a solid move because she knows I’ll listen, desperate for kindergarten gossip or literally anything that brings me into her 6-year-old world. So when I asked her, “Wait, who did you learn about?”, she cutely and matter of factly said, “King Marthin Luther”. And while that extra H in “Marthin” was technically “not right”, I was into her rearranging the surname and didn’t want to correct her on either matter. He wasn’t president, but she wasn’t wrong – he sure was a KING in his own right.

I think we can all agree that daily action and celebration are what’s necessary when it comes to talking about race and fighting for equality – not just MLK Day or Black History Month. And listen, while I’m not the person to comment on the “progress” that’s been made or not made in the last 2 years, I will say that the conversations haven’t stopped in life, and in fact, most of my work friends and friend friends, of all races, have become more and more comfortable discussing race, whiteness, and America’s past/present with the goal of pushing things forward. I think the panic of saying something wrong has waned, likely due to being better educated, which puts us all in a better position as parents (and public figures) to better raise (or influence) the next generation. We’ll all continue to make mistakes, but like anything, the more you practice and flex that muscle (and in this case also listen), the more confident, brave, and better you become. And for that I/we have a lot of you to thank. I mean, thank god for the internet. Despite all the negatives that can come out of social media, it is also an incredible tool for educating yourself.

So today, we celebrate”King Martin Luther” a man who fought to make this country see the harm it was causing and how the future could actually be great and just. And my gosh, the physical and emotional effort that it took, over many, many years is obviously unfathomable to most of us. He did it with such restraint, control, and nuance – which must have been unbelievably difficult, frustrating, and practiced. In short, he worked tirelessly for civil rights and while there has been progress in the last 50 years, we have a long way to go. So we figured that today we would present a few organizations to offer actionable ways to donate and/or volunteer in this fight for his legacy. xx

These amazing organizations are fighting against inequality, white supremacy, and creating equitable opportunities for black people and people of color.

Thanks to all who have contributed to productive conversations over the last two years and continue to do so. The wait was too long. The need is great.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Opening Image Credits: Photograph by Bruce Davidson / Magnum | via The New Yorker

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Melissa
3 months ago

May the conversation never stop. I would also recommend the Equal Justice Initiative https://support.eji.org/give/268781/#!/donation/checkout. If you are ever in Montgomery, AL the Legacy Museum is a must see (run by EJI).

🥰 Rusty
3 months ago

I joined “Hollaback” as a result of the internet discussion on race. Eye opening!

Arlyn’s piece from “Arlyn Says”, about her uneasiness regarding having a mixed race child and what it neans to be a black man in the USA, is palpable reading…and worthy of a link in this post maybe???

Again, Emily, thank you for tackling the real stuff! 😌💌

Allison C
3 months ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Rusy- thanks for mentioning Arlyn’s post. I read and enjoy her blog, but I missed that one! She’s a great writer, and I am going to find that post right now. 🙂

Allison C
3 months ago
Reply to  Allison C

RUSTY – sorry!

🥰 Rusty
3 months ago
Reply to  Allison C

It’s immensely raw and moving.

Darlene
3 months ago

Enjoyed this article, you have a smart young lady! Go Elliot!

Lisa Carnochan
3 months ago

I too feel like entire discussions have come out of hiding. For better or worse, but necessary. Now we who care can do better, and can take responsibility for urging the people we know who are less aware to also do better.

Kara
3 months ago

An important thing to understand about him, that people who weren’t alive then, is that he was hugely controversial in his time, and not just to white supremacists. He was controversial within the ranks of the movement; he was controversial within the Black community. He’s been smoothed over and made into an almost cartoon-like figure. But he’s important because he challenged people. He didn’t swoop in with messages of non-violence to a universally fawning audience. So when we are challenged in our time by voices who talk about things that are politically unimaginable to us, like police or prison abolition, we should listen.

Elisabeth
3 months ago
Reply to  Kara

YES!

BW
3 months ago
Reply to  Kara

He was also arrested something like two dozen+ times. Something for people to keep in mind when they talk about “criminals…”

kh
3 months ago
Reply to  Kara

in my own family of origin (parents who were young adults when MLK was making “good trouble” on the national stage), his is still a name questioned and tarnished. in my new family (of marriage and of choice) the story is different, but i’m grateful to have an authentic and direct link back to the time when uncritical white voices (like those of my parents) viewed MLK as a troublemaker and rabble rouser. he WAS and IS, even thoug he r rightly revere him now for the beautiful nonviolent themes in his activism. he was a problem for complacency then, and my parents remember. we should respect the voices that challenge our complacency now.

kh
3 months ago

thank you so much for his beautiful post. posts like this speak the loudest to me and shine through the humanity and responsibility of the humans behind it all. thank you, thank you.

3 months ago

I hope these conversations continue. It’s amazing how much one man contributed in such a short life.

Jenni
3 months ago

Just wanted to say that I appreciate so much that you and the EHD team have made a real commitment to putting BIPOC creators and voices forward, and continue to discuss issues and questions that are maybe still uncomfortable. It’s a large part of why your site is one of the only ones I regularly visit on the internet these days — I come for the content that has substance! Thanks for pushing the dialogue forward, and for not always centering the white POV.

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