If I could go back and visit one event, just one, it would be at the Washington Memorial on 28 August 1963 when Martin Luther King (MLK) painted a master verbal mural with one of the greatest oratory concerto’s ever to serenade an audience. The “I Have a Dream“ speech. I listen to the speech a few times a year. Each time it sends chills
The message, a masterpiece in imagery, was at once poetic and powerful and poignant. It was simultaneously a draw a line in the sand and cross the line in the sand moment. In historical perspectives, it was a game changer. Every time I listen to the speech, I want to transport back in time to experience the speech live in the midst of 250,000 like minded individuals. I find myself wishing I participated in the freedom marches, billy clubs and attack dogs and bigots be damned
The Civil Rights movement made tremendous strides to right the wrongs, to change the laws of the land, to adjust the attitude of many from bigotry to acceptance. Still, we as a people, have a long way to go in developing our ability to see all peoples as brothers and sisters, to see all people as one race – the human race.
The number one target of bigoted people is transitioning to those of Muslim faith, the people of Islam. The same sorry, unfounded arguments used to justify racism in King’s day are now used to justify discrimination against muslims. All arguments are built on a platform of ignorance by people with poverty of intellect, by people preferring to paint an entire race or religion with a broad brush instead of seeing the myriad, individual colors that make up humanity.
Muslims make up less than 1% of the US population so it’s unlikely most of those engaging in Islamophobia have ever met a Muslim let alone taken the time to befriend them. For these people, it’s much easier to not think critically, much easier to assume extreme ISIS speaks for all Islam ,much easier to not make the effort to understand individuals than it is to attribute the actions of the least common denominator to all.
I am blessed to have first hand experience with Muslims. One of my dearest friends is Muslim. I have visited Muslim countries where I have been treated with respect and never had to face proselytization though I did see Christians trying to convert Muslims.
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.~Martin Luther King
I was not able to participate in the freedom marches of the 60s but I am able to combat racism or any type of ism today. Standing up for anyone being oppressed or persecuted or tyrannized is a choice I make. It allows me to participate in the spirit of the dream Martin so eloquently postulated in the 1960s.
If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem. ~Eldridge Cleaver
It’s time for you to make a choice. Will you stand in ignorance and be part of the problem or will you join me, exhibit love by standing up for all people and be part of the solution?
<Interestingly, as I write this blog, there sit next to me two gentlemen speaking Arabic. Odds are they are also Muslim though I have no way of confirming. And, when I sneezed, despite being in close proximity to many people at my local coffee shop, they were the only two to say “Bless you.” Salaam Alaikum, my brothers.>