The first play I acted in was when I was around 9 years old. The play was about Martin Luther King Jr. – Skin Deep. My father was one of the authors of the play and it was pretty powerful. I had a pretty small role but the play stuck with me.
Fast forward a few years and we were travelling in the United States and visited the graveyard where Martin Luther King Jr. was buried. My dad disappeared and when we found him he was talking on a pay phone to someone about the play he had written and that he planned to put it on again. Turns out he had looked up Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow, in the phone book and gave her a call.
As a result of this phone call Yolanda King came to visit us to see the play. Certain events stand out in your life and this was one for me.
This past weekend the violence in the United States erupted to the point that people died. As I listen to the news and hear the term “identify consciousness” I am sickened to see how hate has continued to fester all these years later. Slavery may no longer be legal in the United States (is it simply offshored now?), many of the inequalities that the civil rights movement fought against have been rectified, but our world is still festering with racism, intolerance and hatred.
When you come to protest carrying torches and bats, you are not starting a dialogue. You are inciting terrorism.
To those I saw on Twitter that suggest the left is hypocritical because they denounce violence on the right, but ignore the counter protesters that promoted violence I ask that you consider this: I denounce the violence on both sides, but when I heard Yolanda King talk about her Father being shot and killed when she was a little girl my heart broke. He was killed because he wanted to be treated equally. He was killed because he wanted blacks and whites to get along. The violence this weekend was started by people who want to tear others down instead of bringing everyone up.
Black Lives Matter exist because in our world we have systematic racism that is accepted as normal. Race, gender, religion, sexuality – none of these should cause us to not treat people with respect. Yolanda managed to forgive a society that murdered her father. I choose the path that was revealed in living room those many years ago – for every difference there are similarities that tie us together as the human race. We need to denounce the violence but it can’t stop there, we each have a responsibility to ensure the dream that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about is realized.