by Megan E.
These were the words that most stood out to me from the double feature movie event I attended last night at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco.
This event, showcasing one film about the Watts Music Festival and another about the Black Power Movement, served to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. by educating others about how the movement changed following his assassination.
It’s events like this one that truly celebrate the impact that MLK had. It seems to me like a lot of people think of yesterday as just another day off and don’t think about why we get that day off.
Instead of taking the opportunity to go on a mini vacation or lounge around all day, Millennials should take time to think critically about King, his impact, and the state of the movement today.
To be blunt, King’s work is by no means over. Racism is not a thing of the past, as much as we’d like to believe it. And until every child of color grows up with the same chance of succeeding as a white child, we must continue Dr. King’s fight. Racism stems from so many factors, it’s impossible to go through them all here. But the quote “I am somebody”, suggests an exceedingly important one.
It has always been my belief that the key to ending racism both personally and on a larger scale lies in understanding the person behind the label. It’s incredibly easy to judge someone based off their appearance instead of taking the effort to see them as something more. Underneath it all, we are all people.
Regardless of our pasts, our socio-economic status, the choices we make (or don’t make), the clothes we wear, the way we style our hair, our politics, and our skin color, we are all people. We have fears, dreams, anxieties, successes, and failures. We are all somebody.
And we all deserve the freedom to be ourselves without judgement nor condemnation. A person’s skin color should never affect the jobs they are offered, the neighborhoods they live in, the schools they attend, and the way they are treated everyday. Every child should grow up, proud of who they are, proud to be somebody incredible.
At the end of the day, that’s what Dr. King hoped for. Once that concept is embraced by all, everything else will begin to fall into place. Once we all understand and appreciate the humanity within the individual, we can begin to truly make Dr. King’s vision a reality.
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