Today is Martin Luther King Day. While on the drive into work today, a talking head on the radio read a story about the progress of Southeast Louisiana in terms of Dr. King’s Dream. Interestingly this person indicated that overall we are performing well; especially in the suburbs, whereas in New Orleans proper, the opposite is mostly true. Regarding the suburbs, I struggle to agree with that assessment. We were out and about all weekend, grocery store, local shops, etc, and while I witnessed no overt racism, I struggled to see much in the way of overt integration. The national chain stores have people of color in leadership roles, but for the most part most places we went were mostly shopped by caucasions, mostly staffed by caucasians, and from what I could tell mostly managed by caucasians.
My heart is heavy because, while I was not around for segregation, and do not know first hand the heavy hand of oppression, I sense it all around. While that oppression may not be in the form of overt racism, it is there. Mostly it is coupled with economic oppression. Often that is not limited to a Black or White context, but sometimes it is there. Dr. King’s Dream, while overtly a call for Black Equality was abouot EQUALITY, RESPECT, and LOVE. When I look around and see our society, I really have to question how much EQUALITY there is; how much RESPECT we, as humans, have for one another; or how much LOVE we have for ourselves, mankind, or God.
I strive everyday to reach for those lofty ideals, too often falling short. I do not make New Year’s Resolutions, but moving forward I will continue to aim for those goals and will work harder at making them happen, in my life, in my community, one day at a time.
Today is not just a Day off at the bank or in the Government. It should be a celebration not just of Black liberty and freedoms, but also a day for recognizing the struggle that far too many people suffered and continue to suffer everyday. In this world of SO MUCH, it is staggering that so many have so little; EQUALITY, RESPECT or LOVE.