It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day today. It’s a day where we’re supposed to stop and remember one of the greatest civil rights leaders in the last 200 years.
It’s a day where Facebook is going to be covered with quotes from his speeches – and many of them truly are memorable.
It’s a day where Google’s home page is changed to reflect people standing arm in arm in solidarity with each other.
I thought I’d do something a little different. I’m going to share a few quotes from his speeches but attempt to share them in light of Ferguson, what happened there and what that means (or doesn’t mean). Bear with me……
- “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” I think Ferguson and Treyvon Martin and the others have illustrated we have farther to go on that dream than we thought or hoped.
- “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Would Rev. King say that the rioters in Ferguson (not the peaceful protestors, the rioters) and the murderer of the two cops in New York have lost that infinite hope?
- “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” How many of us have kept silent and how often have we looked the other way?
- “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
- “Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.” Is our police force a “dangerously structured dam that is blocking the flow of social progress?” Absolutely not everywhere, but in some places?
- “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” How many of the people featured as “talking heads” on TV about Ferguson and New York are more dangerous because they fit one of those two descriptions?
- “Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.” Ouch. I think a lot of people don’t meet that when it comes to Ferguson, New York and the racism of today.
And to end today’s post, here’s a quote from Benjamin Watson, tight end for the New Orleans Saints. He wrote this day the verdict came out in Ferguson:
“At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision. After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down. Here are my thoughts:
I’M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.
I’M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.
I’M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I’m a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a “threat” to those who don’t know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.
I’M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.
I’M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.
I’M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.
I’M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I’ve seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.
I’M CONFUSED, because I don’t know why it’s so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don’t know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.
I’M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take “our” side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it’s us against them. Sometimes I’m just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that’s not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That’s not right.
I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.
I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing.
I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.”