What I Owe to Dr. MLK, Jr.

As a privileged white woman, it is easy for me to just half-heartedly acknowledge today's holiday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day.

"We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people."
-- "Letter from Birmingham Jail," April 16, 1963

But that would be a huge mistake. You see, I owe a lot to Dr. King too. Dr. King paved the way for my family to be who we are. Dr. King and his brave followers are the reason that I had diversity in my public schools, that my teachers and healthcare professionals and coworkers don't look like me. People who have shaped me, contributed to my environment, befriended me, etc... their rights were fought for and defended long ago by heroes who knew that injustice wasn't truth.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige and even his life for the welfare of others."
-- Strength to Love (1963)

I really hope that if I had been alive in the Holocaust era, or during the Civil Rights movement, I would have stood up for the injustices of those who needed my help. But then again, there is still injustice today, and victims who need fighting for NOW- are we standing up for them? Are we honoring Dr. King and others who advocated for freedom and equality?  (Don't know what I mean? Think orphan crisis, child slavery, human trafficking, abortion.)

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual, "Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."
-- "I Have a Dream" speech, August 28, 1963

 So Dr. King, and the brave advocates who endured hardships and trials and persecution... thank you. Thanks for paving the way so that I could be a white woman with a black son. Thank you for dreaming of a time when white and black children would hold hands and play together, be siblings together, be best friends or grow up to be spouses. Thank you for your courage.

My friends' daughters playing together at the park recently.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream that one day little black boys and black girls will join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.
-- "I Have a Dream" speech, August 28, 1963

Source for Dr. King quotes found here


  1. Well said! I felt very emotional today as I considered how our transracial adoptive family would probably not have been possible without the unbelievable courage and vision of one man.

  2. I hopeit's okay, but I loved this post so much I shared it on my blog!


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