Tomorrow will be Martin Luther King Jr. Day in America. I still remember when I was a child growing up seeing him on TV. As a child it always seemed so wrong to me that people were discriminated against because of the skin color. In my city at that time, the overwhelming majority of people were Caucasian, so my first interaction with someone different was in 7th grade with my best friend at school Lorenzo,
My first time to be aware of racism was sadly one day when I was in 7th grade riding with my grandfather in his car. We were riding around doing errands and he started pointing out people of other races to me. When we drove by an African American, he would us the N word. I told him, “Grandpa my best friend at school is ….” He got mad at me and he never gave me a birthday present again.
He was always hailed as a family hero because when he would visit, he would spend a lot of money on groceries to help the family and give my mother a check to help out. But I lost any respect for him that day in the car and each birthday that he ignored me I just thought, “who needs him.”
As a boy, I learned how ugly racism is and how divisive it is. I knew it was something I wanted no part of.
When I was an adult and became a Christian, I appreciated what the bible teaches about diverse people. There was something very revolutionary written by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians. At that time the dividing line for some Jews was between Jew and Greek, non Jew, so it was monumental that Paul wrote in Galatians 3:
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free,nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Paul taught that in the church we are all equal in Christ. Our only identity is children of God.
Martin Luther King is someone I have always admired for what he stood for, his leadership and work for equal rights. My appreciation for him has grown over the years. When I show his I Have A Dream speech to my students, it is a poignant moment for us since my students come from different countries.
Thank you for reading. God Bless.