“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King
I was just 8 years old when MLK was assassinated, but I probably had a vivid, engaged mind. I was already reading Time Magazine at the local library to try to understand this world around me; watching the Detroit riots south of my city in London, Ontario, because that’s where we obtained our US TV channels from; and undertaking a project at school on MLK. I was very confused by what I was being taught in my school and church, and what I saw in the world.
I remember riding my bike to school with friends and trying to ask them what it meant and why this would happen. I don’t remember much else, but I do remember that I was very upset about it, and confused as to why they didn’t seem to know what was going on.
We define ourselves by the dignity we show to others – not what we take away from them. We define ourselves by the values we hold in our heart to respect their struggle, not by our desire to wish the struggle away. We define ourselves by our small ability to stand up in an insignificant way for what continues to be one of the most important and momentous of struggles of our time.
I am so sad by what is unfolding in the country south of my home. My heart goes out to those who are continuing this long and awful fight for freedom, respect, dignity, and the basic ability to live a life without sudden death. My disgust goes out to those people who define their world by their hatred of others.
I have never understood how a people who think they are the greatest in the world are defined by their prejudice, who abuse their religious belief as a foundation for violence, and an agenda of hate by destroying the rights of their fellow man.
Anguish defines those of us who care, and while we often can not do much, we can speak out, and we can always hope.