“Wake up everybody, no more sleepin’ in bed. No more backward thinkin’ time for thinkin’ ahead.” That song always comes to mind on Martin Luther King day for me. Every year we should wonder if he would be proud of not just our so-called “black leaders” but us as a people holding up our end of his bargain. We have the simple charge of treating each other with respect and dignity no matter what color you are.
We need to celebrate in ways that are more substantive and far-reaching than a day off from work and street signs in his name where crimes are committed, primarily, against one another. This day is a day of reflection that has lost its substance and significance similarly to the commercialism of Christmas.
Maybe we need to make WWJD bracelets that read MLKIW…Martin Luther King Is Watching. No, he’s not Jesus, but when we are in a racially charged situation (mainly between black people) we can look at our bracelet and say: “I’m sorry brother, didn’t see your foot there”; “My bad, you had the right of way”; “Maybe your idea is better, let’s go with that”; “Your child didn’t mean to do that, I know he’s just a child.” This could avoid a lot of senseless gun play and hasty acts of violence.
So while you’re out in those mean streets of Martin Luther King Day, remember the man’s dream that first emancipates us from a dark past and catapults us into our best version of ourselves. The dream that passes the shoes of of Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Martin…Luther…King to our children and help them walk into our greatest future. It’s no mistake that Obama’s inauguration into the highest office of the United States– and arguably– the world, has occurred at the same time. It is almost as if MLK is sending a message of urgency that calls to our excellence. I can hear him saying: This Is Your Time. Don’t abandon your posts. The stage is set. Show the world what you can do, so that people of all races can not only grow, but flourish.
Listen and reflect. Enjoy this MLK gift from Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes:
Sing along if you like:
"Wake up everybody no more sleepin in bed
No more backward thinkin time for thinkin ahead
The world has changed so very much
From what it used to be
there is so much hatred war an' poverty
Wake up all the teachers time to teach a new way
Maybe then they'll listen to whatcha have to say
Cause they're the ones who's coming up and the world is in their hands
when you teach the children teach em the very best you can.
The world won't get no better if we just let it be
The world won't get no better we gotta change it yeah, just you and me.
Wake up all the doctors make the ol' people well
They're the ones who suffer an' who catch all the hell
But they don't have so very long before the Judgement Day
So won'tcha make them happy before they pass away.
Wake up all the builders time to build a new land
I know we can do it if we all lend a hand
The only thing we have to do is put it in our mind
Surely things will work out they do it every time."