Okay, so today’s Martin Luther King Day, and it got me thinking about the books I read in college about Dr. King, and also for that matter, about Malcolm X, and it got me thinking, that true leadership takes sacrifice.
Let me clarify. It is horrible that both of these men had their lives ended prematurely under violent means, and in no way mean sacrifice in that way.
I’m thinking more about the daily stress and exhaustive amount of hours spent thinking, engaging, and fighting for rights that had not existed for them, and their countless followers. Real leaders are not perfect, and in no way do I think Dr. King was a perfect man. However, I do believe that his imperfection and his willingness to sacrifice for the greater good made him a truly powerful and inspiring leader.
It’s hard to imagine living in Jim Crow America, when I myself have grown up in neighborhoods that are highly integrated, and full of such a warm and diverse cross section of true Americans, of all races, religions, and creed. Though I can imagine that if it wasn’t for leaders like Dr. King (and many others), we could very well be in a worse situation socially.
I feel blessed to have experienced the freedom that Dr. King so eloquently dreamed for all Americans, and particularly those who at the time had never tasted, had never felt, had never truly enjoyed.
I guess what I’m getting at is this: we have progressed so far as a nation, yet we continue to hold onto emotional insecurities like prejudice and bigotry, and rarely speak openly about them. Anyone of us has the ability to seek to understand before casting judgment, though we seem more likely to hide behind our blanket of ignorance to find what little comfort we expect there, instead of venturing out into the big unknown and finding a greater sense of purpose, and a greater sense of self.
I know that our future progeny will look back to even our current social landscape (particularly our current political landscape) and be marveled at how ignorant we are, that we still have racism in America, discrimination of all kinds, particularly toward those in the LGBTQ community, and still dictate social policy based on money rather than the greater good for humanity.
So, for this Martin Luther King Jr Day, take a deep moment, and look out into the broad American landscape and see one small thing that you can impact in a positive and non-violent way, and begin the movement of change in your own way.
Follow the leadership of Dr. King, and become that leader yourself.