MLK Day 2013. Obviously, an epic day in history on which an African-American president will be inaugurated on a day when we remember undoubtedly one of the most influential African-Americans of all time. A man who fought for equality no matter what one’s skin color is and died doing so. More than likely if you are around my age, your parents have said to you upon one occasion that they remember where they were when MLK was shot.
As I prep to take a few hours off today to be with my kids who are off school, I find myself reflecting on today. One son is off to a birthday party at noon, and I am taking the other one to play laser tag with a few friends during that time (that is a discussion for a whole different day). Regardless, before we go, I want to catch a bit of the #2013inaug on TV with the boys, creating a memory hopefully that we will remember forever. Will we have conversation about Dr. King, too? More than likely as the two events hold the same location in common and today is MLK Day.
While I am deciding what I think about Michelle Obama’s bangs like everyone else in this country, I find myself further pondering MLK day and its personal significance to me.
You already know that my mom told me where she was when MLK was shot. She remembers it. What you don’t know is this: When my mom was a single working mom in the mid-70’s, she taught 3rd grade at Martin Luther King Elementary School in Pittsburgh. My mom was a hard-working, single parent. She was a pioneer at the time while teaching in an open-space classroom to numerous 3rd graders, a leader in the teacher’s union, and a proponent of education for everyone. She gave this to me, and then other things….
I remember visiting her school often, always with a sense of pride beyond the usual for a 4-year-old. I will never forget classroom holiday parties my mom held or spending time with some of her students. What does this have to do with today? and NOW? Well, there is the tie in with MLK. The school named for him holds tremendous significance for me [and my mom]. Furthermore, my mom went on to seek other dreams after working at MLK School, but that is where it all started.
The other dreams are important too because my mom showed me early on that dreams can be recreated, visions changed over a lifetime, and as women, we can do any number of things in a lifetime. My mom did so many things after MLK school. She stayed home with me for a few years, she taught students who did not finish high-school for one reason or another skills to get their GED, went into the unknown as a substitute teacher, and created a big dream and brand new destiny when she basically built her latest career from the ground-up. My mom taught me that we do not have to settle, but with pride and hard work, we can mold our destiny to be what we want (many times if necessary). She is the original Back’nGrooveMom.
I am pretty sure that is what Dr. King wanted for everyone: equality, dreams, an ability to create our own destinies. I know that Michelle Obama feels that today is about Americans celebrating who we are, and as her husband is inaugurated where MLK made his famous speech, our country should be empowered like my mom taught me to be.
AND – If that doesn’t do it for you, then watching Katy Perry sing Firework in Red, Whiten and Blue for the kids inauguration party should –
Do you have memories specific to today that help form your being?