Monday, January 17, 2011

Reflecting On King's Legacy

Today is the first Martin Luther King Holiday that I actually went into work at my day job. I don't think Rev. King would have been offended.

Usually, I would go to church and then head out for a service project but since I was on the West Coast for a week, I have some catching up to do. So, while I'm working I am also reflecting on the struggle it took to get this day signed into law.

For several years, all of my high school classmates of color and a few white students staged "walk outs" where we left classes in the middle of the day on or near January 15th. Our intention was to encourage our Archdiocese (I went to Catholic High School) to acknowledge the holiday. It wasn't about a day off but about honoring a man that we deeply admired. After steadfast commitment to our "cause", the holiday went into effect for our school district - two years after it was signed into law. My classmates and I also worked with our local legislators to create what would later become the nation's largest observance of the King Holiday as a "Day of Service."

I feel good about that as being of service to others is something I value in the core of my being.I share this today to jar the consciousness of some of my younger readers. You have in your power to shape and shift the discourse about human rights and civility in your own backyard.

It only takes one idea to spark a burst of brilliance that will live beyond you.

What will your legacy be?