It has always been my practice to try my best to educate my children about the importance of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr did for people of colour around the world. It has also been rather annoying that in Canada it is not recognized as a day of importance. I'm not so sure how many people actually take the time to acknowledge all that Dr King accomplished in his time fighting for the rights and freedoms of minorities, or if it is just another day off of work for those in the US, but at least it has not gone unnoticed there.
I actually wonder how many of you reading this blog right now even knew that today was Dr Martin Luther King Jr Day. Maybe the ones who used Safari to search for something were prompted by the picture that was on the screen, or maybe I am not giving credit to some of you who actually did know this was a day set aside to remember Dr King.
It matters to me. It is very important to our family, and if you were like us, and were one of maybe five families that are a part of the visible minorities in this community, it would matter to you too. Our family stands out, because we have lots of children, because we homeschool, and because we are black. There are so many stereotypes that we have to fight through for all three of those things, but I think the most difficult is the latter. Although we all know that the discrimination that the people faced when Dr King was alive and fighting for our freedoms is not comparable to what we might deal with today, there are still far too many people who hold ill will against those who do not have white skin.
I don't want to make this a big political rant about why I think things should change in Canada with regards to this holiday, and what today means to all black families. What I do want to share is something my parents shared with me.
What is really hard to take in, is that even in the small communities that we live in, my own father sat in a restaurant for over an hour without getting served because of the colour of his skin. My parents grew up knowing what families they could associate with, and what families to stay away from. Snide comments from teachers, or subtle suggestions were things that my dad can share with me from when he was growing up. That makes it all very real. When someone you know and love went through that type of blatant ignorance and obvious discrimination, it is a tough pill to swallow. I am so glad that my father never hardened his heart, and was able to forgive, and teach us how to love....everyone.
So today matters to me and my family because I need to show them how far we have come and the struggles and sacrifices that people before us made to allow for us to have the things that we have today. It's just that simple. I could go into all of the amazing words that were spoke in the I Have A Dream speech, but I don't need to do that. I just wanted to express how much it matters to me.
He was an amazing man. He spoke eloquently and he changed the face of the black communities all over the world. He spoke about peace and love and equality for everyone. It is something that should happen in all of our communities every day.