Monday, January 15, 2007

King Holiday 2007

In 2005 I had a chance to visit the Lorraine Motel complex in Memphis,TN site of Martin Luther King's final day and assasination. The entire time I spent there was moving and allowed me a chance to use my imagination of how turbulent those times were and the atmosphere that permeated the air. Each exhibit stirred deep emotions and forced me to wrap my mind around what a challege those pursuing civil rights must have endured. As a history buff I was more than enthralled with the musuem's artifacts and attention to detail, including, the actual room King stayed in,video presentations, James Earl Ray's passport and the bullet's fired on that faithfful day. I found it eeriely unsettling as I gazed to the balcony of the hotel from the window sill used methodically by the assassin. Kings legacy of non-violence and committment to unabashed service to mankind are benchmarks that are still revelant today. However, our world is still grappling with war, poverty, immigration, globalization and the enviroment. King's words of compassion, unity and dealing with people based on "character not their skin color" continues to echo. I applaud the advances that have been made overall,even though I can remember just years ago when Gay bars in this state had multiple carding rules and exclusion policies that we now abhor. Yet they exisited, after King and in some areas of the country are still being challenged. The homophobia that is prevelant in the Black community and supported by the church has had devastating affects on individuals living with HIV/ AIDS, gay youth and those in a comming out experience. Correta Scott King aptly acknowledge this issue in various speeches around the nation and implored African American's to rethink their position and learn to embrace those being spured. It would be my hope that as we celebrate his birthday, that we reflect on our committment to empowering others and offering our talents to assist with making the world a better place. I challenge all my readers to share your thoughts on how King's legacy has affected your life and what you will do to help continuing to affirm his mandates for our world.


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