MLK Day Tribute
To My Dear Friends,
I want you to remember that the holiday we observe today has significant meaning for our nation’s history and that the accomplishments of Rev. Martin Luther King should not be taken lightly. Every year I encounter a lot of white Americans who are very bitter about this holiday and use it as an excuse to revive closeted racism they swear to have left behind years and years ago. This really makes me sick. Racist attitudes are still alive and well in New England and all over the USA, despite the phony act many people display outwardly. I am in my mid-20’s and this covert hatred I encounter from fellow whites usually comes from people in the 40+ age bracket. I grew up believing that all people are equal in terms of race and ethnicity. As a youth I was exposed to friends belonging to many different groups: Nigerian, Vietnamese, African-American, and Jewish to name a few. All of the dreams of Rev. King may not have come to fruition. The years following his murder in 1968 were very turbulent and violent times in our country. A voice of peace and reason like Rev. King’s was sorely missed during the late 60’s and early 70’s. Martin Luther King was able to unite blacks and whites, but also peaceful Muslims with Christians to fight for one common goal. Another reason why I believe there is so much bitterness and hatred for Martin Luther King day among white Christians is because they played a very small part in the civil rights movement and never took it seriously to begin with. Black Americans were the driving force behind this time of transformation in our nation, but Jewish Americans played a key supporting role in this process. Our Jewish brothers and sisters have known for ages about dealing with hatred and discrimination. Bus loads of these brave souls journeyed into the South to join the rallies, protests, marches, and sit-ins organized by Rev. King and other leaders. If there is any resentment equal to (or even greater than) the resentment of blacks in this country that I have seen with my own eyes, it is the resentment of Jewish people. I thank God that I am not possessed by this curse of hatred. I know that racism or anti-semitism will never be totally eradicated in the USA. I am a realist. However, I pray that those of you who have read this who harbor anger toward a certain racial or ethnic group and have never let go of this burden and walk freely into a new day. This holiday is the perfect opportunity for you to examine your own heart and bid farewell to the prejudices of your heart.