Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) said, “We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.” Where did such inspiration come from? Dreams like MLK’s can only be dreamed by men and women who know what it feels like to be persecuted and oppressed, to live in extreme poverty and to have known the agony of seeing their fellow man hanging from the branch of a tree, only for being black.
MLK dared to tell the world of his dream, a “promised land” where bigotry and racism did not exist. And it cost him his life. His beautiful dream was looked upon as a nightmare to people with hate-filled hearts. One of them was prepared to load a rifle and use it in the hopes of stopping the dream from materializing.
I believe MLK’s dream speaks of the love he had for all the people of the US of A. He loved each and all of them, regardless of the colour of their skin or their cultural background. All were clearly visible to him in his dream. It was this powerful love he had for human beings which created the words of his grand oratory at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Today the love we have for freedom, for justice and for valour all grew mightier and filled the nooks and crevices in all corners of our hearts with pride and with a refreshed and re-invigorated devotion to peace because of the fact that MLK lived and because of the way he died.
MLK was an extraordinary man. His message left his heart, passed through his lips and flew over his audience like a beautiful songbird who let fall from its wings words which directed the people who heard them to rally in peaceful protest.
I admire MLK and was so very humbled today to accept the DreamKeeper Citation for Excellence in Leadership. Activists like me do not say that we stand in MLK’s shadow. We are not worthy to do so. The same ballpark? Maybe. I will strive to be more like him though. You can bet on that.
I have my own dream. It is not as mighty as that of MLK. My dream cries to the people of Ottawa to open their eyes to the fact that Creator does not see the colour of our skins but sees only the beauty of our spirits. I too believe in equality. I am fully 100% aware that equality will never be realized until the day arrives where white people harbouring superiority complexes are not allowed anywhere near our justice system, nor in classrooms where children learn. How foolish does a person appear before God who believes that having white skin will make him/her a better police officer, jail guard, parole board member, judge, teacher, etc. than someone else whose skin is of a darker shade than theirs.
I am certain that there will be continuing hardship and more grief for the impoverished and for the working poor of our villages, towns and cities until such a day where politicians no longer allow themselves to be the puppets or the lapdogs of the rich and powerful of the land’s Ivory Towers. There will never be equality until all communities, minority and white folk alike, rise as one and say “no more, enough is enough”.
I said today that if politicians (municipal, provincial and federal) vote to destroy the Chaudière Falls site (Akikodjiwan) by endorsing development of them (Zibi condos), it would tell me that gatherings such as the one today honouring MLK are not real. A day like the one today would be nothing more than a veneer of brittle scales made of pretty lies and clumps of hair from the coat of the beast of greed. Neither MLK nor Jesus Christ would endorse the destruction of a sacred place created so a wounded people could heal.
Were any politicians listening? Time will tell.