Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day when we (should) all pause to remember a man who changed everything. His willingness to stand up against the popular culture empowered everyone who came after. This post is my a little part of my effort to pay my debt to him.
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. took a stand and he paid the price. He paid that price because those around him in power sought to stop him. When I say “in power” I’m not talking about just the govenors, mayors, or other political figures. A politician rarely creates the culture they represent. A culture is created by individuals who perpetuate it.
These are the people who enforce the social mores and rules we are all expected to follow. They are the media, the celebrities, and the business people. They are us— the men and women on the street. They are the bosses, the chums, the pals, the mothers, the fathers, the brothers, the sisters, and the friends who frown on certain ideas. Perhaps these people have no unfortunate intentions— or maybe they do. But they are the ones who form the culture everyone lives in.
We have to stand up against that culture when it is wrong, or when it blocks us from believing and acting on what is right. We must make certain we are not the ones that are victimizing others. We’ve got to make certain we aren’t hindering others as they pursue their dreams and that we aren’t victimizing when they do.
Some people still aren’t completely aware how much Dr. King has empowered them. They need to think about what he stood for. Our culture’s tolerance is a good thing. It allows us all to follow our dreams.
Here are three places and events in our area that help deliver this message.
- The ‘Unto These Hills’ drama in Cherokee is a graphic depiction of what happens when people ignore this message. Click here to read my article about it and learn how to experience it.
- Two hours from Asheville the South Carolina State House has an incredible monument to the victims of slavery and apartheid in the United States. Click here to learn about it. Click here to check out the SC Tourism Office’s page about it.
- At 8 p.m. on Tuesday the 22, UNCA’s cultural events department will present The Parchman Hour, a tribute to The Freedom Riders. Click here to learn more.