Last spring, I had the chance to make a quick visit to the Lorraine Motel and the National Civil Rights Museum while I was
walking working in Memphis (more on that here). I was scrolling through pictures from that trip earlier today, and thinking how lucky (I’m wracking my brain for a better word, but my brain isn’t cooperating…) we are to have had people like Dr. King come before us. People who had the courage to speak up and speak out. People who shared their dreams and vision, and put the work in motion.
I was less than a month pregnant when I stood on the balcony outside room 306 at the Lorraine Motel, and even though our daughter was, like, the size of a lima bean or something at the time, it feels important that she was there with me.
I can remember a time when I thought the world needed to be fixed, even a little bit, before I could imagine having children. It was shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I was walking past a memorial at school, and saw a young family reading the messages penned on the wall. I remember thinking, The world doesn’t feel good enough for children. Things felt too raw, too worrisome, too complicated, too broken.
After years of working with young people, and now with a baby on the way, I can see the other side of things. Bringing children into a broken world is one of the ways we fix it. How we treat our children — whether as parents, relatives, teachers, friends, neighbors, leaders, etc.– and the values and dreams and visions we impart have tremendous transformative power.
Whenever I visit schools, we talk about role models and heroes and inevitably, a child mentions Martin Luther King, Jr. I can’t help but be as grateful for these students as I am for Dr. King. There is still so much work to be done, but I know they are the ones who will see it through.
Also On Tap for Today:
- Interesting read from The Atlantic: When Schools Stay Open on Martin Luther King Day
- Getting my act together for the week ahead
- Exploding spices!
How are you spending your MLK Day?