Welcome to the Monday Mailing Vol 2, Ed 3 – MLK, Jr.
I do not remember April 4, 1968. Living about as far away from the racial south as one could get in northern California, I knew far more Hispanics than blacks. I would later discover that the black part of town did indeed exist, sequestered in a small neighborhood on the south side of town, hemmed in by freeways, major thoroughfares and the County Fairgrounds. Far later I would realize the lack of homogeneity in my place of birth was due in large part due to the sequestering of black, Hispanic, eastern European and Italian immigrants into neighborhoods of like kind. Some of those neighborhoods exist to this day. . . a lifetime later, and still out of sight, out of mind.
Indeed, it was only when I lived in Michigan that I learned about redlining and community covenants. I had received a copy of the original deed to my 1950s house and read the line stating that no Negro could buy or live in the neighborhood. A driving tour of Detroit is an eye opener even for the most enlightened, or woke (as is said now) person.
While I do not remember 4/4/68, I remember the dis-ease that followed, especially on the evening news. There in the midst of a decade of Presidential Assassination, Warfare in Vietnam, the events of the day were but a foreshadowing of what would happen in June of that year, when Robert Kennedy was assassinated. I believe I heard my father utter aloud, for the very first time, that we’d gone to hell in a hand basket. I didn’t really know what that meant, but if my father swore, I knew there were things that were truly wrong in our country.
Fifty-plus years later, there are still so many problems with our nation and indeed, in our world. Years later and we still enclave people, we still insist on the same opportunities for all (even though the playing field is anything but level), we still consider ourselves to be among those who are actively against systemic racism, xenophobia and bias (while all the while decrying BLM protests). But not much has changed.
So, we have to remember that for anything big to change, we (our very selves) must be open and willing to change. We must decide where we want to stand, and for what we want to be remembered. Me, myself and I . . . must decide. So with my favorite quote from a man of deep conviction and compassion, I stand on the side of love.
Where do you stand?