In 2006, my son was attending a school where they did not have Dr. King Day off. The principal said, “I don’t think Dr. King would want children to be out of school.” I didn’t like that answer. I felt as if she thought parents did not know how to celebrate the day off. Of course, me being who I am, I did not send my son to school and we watched Spike Lee’s “When the Levees Broke.” Now that he is a teenager, I am thinking about what we will do today. Will we listen to his speeches, or write a couple of paragraphs on what Dr. King means to us?
I emailed my best friend Deidre and asked her what does having MLK Day off mean to her?
This is what she emailed me:
“I was listening to my car radio as I drove and got pretty excited when the DJ introduced the song “King Celebrate.” The collaboration included the voices of some notable hip hop and pop artists of the 1980s, more specifically known as The King Dream Chorus and the Holiday Crew. El De Barge, Fat Boys, Full Force, Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, Whitney Houston, Kurtis Blow, Stacy Lattisaw, Lisa Lisa, Teena Marie, Menudo (with Ricky Martin), Stephanie Mills, New Edition, Run-D.M.C., James “J.T.” Taylor, and Whodini were some of the artists who were featured in the song. The tempo was catchy and the singers were the crème de la crème of that time. They came together to reach America’s youth to educate them about the importance of their freedom and the man who gave his life to a cause from which they benefit.
When I listened to the words, I began to wonder just how much has changed since 1989, or 1969 for that matter. There have been so many positive changes for our youth, yet the change within our youth seems to have deteriorated significantly. They blindly enjoy, or more so abuse, the freedom for which Dr. King and so many others have fought, bled and given their lives. Stop any kid on the street and ask them if they know who Dr. King is and what he has done. To some diminutive degree, they could tell you. Conversely, ask if they live their lives as though they know that he laid down his so that they could be free to become highly educated, have a resounding voice and prosper at the same rate as their white counterparts. A chorus of crickets just might sound. It saddens me to see their behavior and lack of appreciation for what Dr. King has done. Our youth need an aggressive intervention. Where is The King Dream Chorus and the Holiday Crew of the new millennium? Although in this present day, we could definitely use more than just a song.”
Today, I hope to drive my son and his friends to Dallas to check out the free exhibit on Dr. King’s life at the House of Blues or go to the parade.
What are you doing today?