Monday, January 18, 2016

MLK: leading us to a more sustainable America

I was in my mid twenty's in 1968 when Martin Luther King was assassinated, the same year that Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. That was a tough year. Celebrating MLK with today's holiday takes me back in time and reminds me that Ronald Reagan did at least two worthwhile things during his presidency. He signed the legislation establishing MLK Day as a federal holiday and he taught me to "Trust, but Verify."

long may the flame of justice burn
long may the flame of justice burn
Photo by J. Harrington

In part because of the work he did to help bring social justice to the forefront in this country, Martin Luther King should be, and I hope is, considered a hero in the environmental and sustainable communities. I don't think it yet gets the attention it deserves, but social equity is an essential element of a sustainable society. Reverend King moved the needle toward a more equitable, and therefore more sustainable, United States of America. That's part of a long list of reasons to honor him and his memory.

[UPDATE] The Bioneers Tweeted this on Tuesday morning:
"All life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny." — Dr. MLK, Jr.

Dr. King knew what he was talking about.

Riot

By Gwendolyn Brooks
A riot is the language of the unheard.
—martin luther king
John Cabot, out of Wilma, once a Wycliffe,
all whitebluerose below his golden hair,
wrapped richly in right linen and right wool,
almost forgot his Jaguar and Lake Bluff;
almost forgot Grandtully (which is The
Best Thing That Ever Happened To Scotch); almost
forgot the sculpture at the Richard Gray
and Distelheim; the kidney pie at Maxim’s,
the Grenadine de Boeuf at Maison Henri.

Because the Negroes were coming down the street.

Because the Poor were sweaty and unpretty
(not like Two Dainty Negroes in Winnetka)
and they were coming toward him in rough ranks.
In seas. In windsweep. They were black and loud.
And not detainable. And not discreet.

Gross. Gross. “Que tu es grossier!” John Cabot
itched instantly beneath the nourished white
that told his story of glory to the World.
“Don’t let It touch me! the blackness! Lord!” he whispered
to any handy angel in the sky.
But, in a thrilling announcement, on It drove
and breathed on him: and touched him. In that breath
the fume of pig foot, chitterling and cheap chili,
malign, mocked John. And, in terrific touch, old
averted doubt jerked forward decently,
cried, “Cabot! John! You are a desperate man,
and the desperate die expensively today.”

John Cabot went down in the smoke and fire
and broken glass and blood, and he cried “Lord!
Forgive these nigguhs that know not what they do.”


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