The Weekly Dream: One Day We’ll All Be Free
Not strong, only aggressive
Not free, we only licensed
Not compassionate, only polite, now who’s the nicest?
Not good, just Well-Behaved
Chasing after death so we can call ourselves brave
Still living like mental slaves
-Black Star, Thieves in the Night
“Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph”
Question of the Week: Are you free and in what way? What are you willing to give to protect your freedom?
The Martin Luther King holiday is right around the corner. What does that really mean? For most people I know, the King holiday means a day to catch up on things around the house and an extra day off of work. For a while, my observance of the King Holiday was sacrificed at the altar of my own procrastination. At some point, I began to wonder whether the holiday had lost its significance, especially for people of my generation and younger.
Let Freedom Ring
The change for me came when I researched the history and heard accounts from my elders of what it was really like back then. When it became real to me as to how much Dr. King and others in that era had to give up just so we can exercise our basic human rights, I felt that at the very least, I could take a few hours out of my day to pay homage to one of the greatest leaders in American History.
But recently, Dr. King has come to represent something more to me, something I did not associate with him explicitly in all my years of hearing about Dr. King, and that was freedom. Freedom is defined as “the absence of hindrance, restraint, confinement, repression and subjection to an arbitrary power.”
Now, there are varying levels of freedom and different kinds of freedom. In society, we sacrifice some of our personal autonomy in order to reap the benefits that come with security. Dr. King and others heroes of that era cast away their own personal security by courageously speaking the truth about America and its “Animal Farm” notion of equality. However, speaking truth is insufficient; the truth must be seen in action to possess true freedom.
Looking at the state of race relations in America and the state of my own community, I often wonder if I am selfless enough to put my life on the line, give up time I could spend with my family and friends, in order to fight for the rights of others? That is the challenge and call to leadership. That is the challenge posed to us by the legacy of Dr. King, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers and others. As soon as you begin to live the truth, security goes out the window. You become a target. But if we do not protect the truth and freedom, who will?
Lest We Forget
In Exodus, the children of Israel were enslaved in the land of Egypt. Many years earlier, their ancestor Joseph saved the country from one of the worse famines in early recorded history. Joseph was a national hero and as a reward, pharaoh allowed Joseph’s people to live in the land. However, as time passed, it says that there was a pharaoh that did not know Joseph. He did not really forget, but the significance of what Joseph had done lost meaning as time passed. As a result, the pharaoh enslaved the same people who had saved his nation so many years earlier. And apparently, as the Israelites lived in slavery, they adopted a slave mentality, learning to love their chains instead of freedom. Thus, they had to go to the wilderness in order to learn to be free again.
What about us? Are we free? Or have we allowed ourselves to be enslaved by internal and external forces? The greatest crime is to forget the legacy of those who went before us and live our lives in a way that makes their sacrifices null and void.
To combat this, we can start by doing something to honor the legacy of the man with a dream.