"Because I've Been To The Mountaintop. And I Don't Mind. Like Anybody, I would Like To Live A Long Life. Longevity Has Its Place. But I'm Not Concerned About That Now. I Just Want To Do God's Will. And He's Allowed Me To Go Up To The Mountain. And I've Looked Over. And I've Seen The Promised Land. I May Not Get There With You. But I Want You To Know Tonight, That We, As A People, Will Get To The Promised Land. And I'm Happy, Tonight. I'm Not Worried About Anything. I'm Not Fearing Any Man. My Eyes Have Seen The Glory Of The Lord"… Dr. Martin Luther King
My open letter to Dr. Martin Luther King. On this Eve of celebration of your day of recognition, I sit here in my space and thoughts of you are pounding in my head. I must honestly admit this is the first time that I have really taken the time to reflect and pay homage to you in a manner that is befitting of a man that has done so much for me. Oh, I have joined in on conversations and watched stories and read articles about you but to really reflect and to internalize the impact that you have played in my life and the lives of many is mind boggling. Instead of thoughts of joy and pride, I am overwhelmed with the dismal thoughts of where WE are as a people. Maybe this is my way of honestly honoring and recognizing your greatness and tireless sacrifice for a nation of people. How do we honor the sacrifice and legacy of a man that unselfishly give himself to the world for the betterment of ALL? Has the Dream been replaced with dreams of self-adsorption, self-gratification, narcissistic dreams of grandeur, self-promotion of oneself?
Dr. King, we have slipped and fallen off the mountain top and we can't find our way back. We were once a very proud, distinguished, and illustrious nation of people. During our darkest days of fighting for equality, we fought the good fight and never did we allow our circumstances and our conditions to dictate or circumvent the love and dignity that was strong and palpable for all to see. Dr. King, it was that same love and dignity that we openly displayed in light of our challenges that the "man" hated and revered at the same time. The concept that WE could still rise and face another minute, another hour, another day of hatred and disdain was met with brutality and murder at the hands of our oppressor.
Yes, I do remember how We endured being trampled on, beaten down with batons, spat on, clubbed across the heads, jailed unjustly, defamed, disrespected, burned, lynched, attacked and bitten by dogs and murdered. The scars and keloids are the physical daily and constant reminders of the beatings suffered and endured by our majestic Queens and Kings. Dr. King, remember how after the beatings we came together, nursed and bandaged each other to face yet another day. Arms locked together, white, black, brown, old, young, tired and downtrodden we marched with determination and with purpose. Our courage and steadfastness were fearless, unstoppable, and unshakable.
We left our homes on these crusades with the clear, concise, and profound knowledge that once we crossed that imaginary threshold there was no turning back. At the forefront of our minds and the hearts of families that we left behind was the definite possibility that this moment and time very well could have been the last time for us to see each other. But the price of not taking a stance was far heavier and costly to the detriment of our immediate survival as a people and as a nation for us to ignore. The magnetic pull and call for action that was placed in our hearts were too imposing and too pronounced to disregard. Brother Martin, I wouldn't trade these moments for anything in this world. Dr. King remember how we dressed with style, grace, refinement and sophistication while being kicked, maimed, tortured, watered down, beaten, and assaulted. You taught me self-love, self-respect, self-worth, love for my brothers and sisters, humility, humanity, courage and most importantly you taught me that I can dream in bright, vibrant, and effervescent colors.
Where are the proud people of yesterday? Where the mothers and fathers of yesterday? Where are these Queens who once marched alongside their Kings? Where are the people who stood in defiance and stared in the face of death and evil? We once stood for principle, equality, basic human rights, humanity, and respect. We once fought the good fight for all because we believed that the hell felt by one was no comparison to the magnified and intensified hell felt by all. Have we loss the vision and the dream? Are our souls so tainted and blinded with greed and self-degradation? In the words of Marvin Gaye, "What's Going On?” Martin, I too shed tears of hurt, embarrassment, and shame. How did we lose our way? The shift from us to me was so insidious that it was unnoticed. We parade our nakedness openly for all to see. Our women now take pleasure in showing their bodies to the world for its delight. The most intimate act that should only be shared between two people is for public display and consumption. How did we lose our way while climbing up that mountain Martin?
Brother Martin, I end my letter to you with the vivid memories of yesterday. I will always cherish those days of marching side by side arm by arm heroically to the unknown and to what God had already preordained as our fate. Nothing can ever replace the unwavering commitment and charge felt by all to one day overcome. I must also say with great heaviness, sadness, and regret that we have taken our eyes off of the “Promised Land”. I can’t promise you that all will make it but I know that you are there waiting on the other side of that mountain for us.
Peace and Blessings