You don’t need to be “important” to change the world.
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and all across the country people are volunteering their time cleaning vacant lots, painting over graffiti, protesting injustices, marching to raise the profile of causes and issues, and reflecting on a larger-than-life icon who had a dream, but didn’t live to see it materialize.
At all the altruistic events that will take place to honor the Atlanta-born minister, in front of the crowds will more than likely be politicians, faith leaders, activists, corporate executives (sponsors)—I’ll be speaking today at 6pm in Philadelphia at Catalyst for Change Ministries—and other high profile individuals with perceived influence and power.
And in the audience will be huddled masses whose perception of the figures before them—while flattering—may spark the thought: “How can I get power/access like them so I can change the world…or even just my city?”
The personalities who’ll take turns at the microphone will tell you to do a lot of things, like register to vote, show up to the polls, be informed, volunteer more often, consider donating to (insert cause here), organizing block clean-ups, giving a sh*t about black-on-black-crime and stop yelling “f*ck the police!”.
But what most of the public figures won’t stress is that you, the man or woman listening and watching in the audience, are just as important, significant, cherished, valuable, and more importantly, needed in the world to assist in tackling tough problems as they are.
So often in society, we let brand names and magnetic personalities dominate the field, while the rest of the population sits on the sideline and either cheers aggressively or talks sh*t about the plays executed.
The game of life is perceived as risky and expensive; one that requires upfront capital to invest in the dream and years of sweat-equity and more capital to scale and sustain it. And while the aforementioned isn’t totally a misconception, what’s more accurate is that life requires a greater contribution of passion and purpose to have an impact, both which are free and, if you enable it, never-ending.
Dr. King, as Ms. Ava Duvernay so brilliantly portrayed in her latest film, Selma, was an everyday black man—a human—who connected with like-minded individuals to solve problems. However, over time he’s become more magic than man. This has created a generation of back-seat drivers, People who are waiting on a big name to drive them to the mountaintop.
“Dr. King has been reduced to this catchphrase of ‘I have a dream’… it wasn’t even his best speech,” remarked Ms. Duvernay, who did extensive research on her subject in order to write all the speeches Mr. David Oyelowo recited in Selma.
Ms. Duvernay asserts that what most people think of when reflecting on Dr. King is not a human being, but “a fantasy.”
“He was a man of faith who was sometimes unfaithful,” she explained, during her visit with a group of Philadelphia journalist, “He was charismatic; he was guilty sometimes; he had an ego; he got jealous; he was a prankster; he was a human- being just like us, yet he’s been deified… cased in marble. I think it does him a disservice and shame on us for allowing it to happen.”
In my opinion, if we’re going take anything away from the life of Dr. King, it should be that he was more man than magic and he’d rather live standing up than die on his knees. Let’s remember Dr. King this year and every year moving forward with fewer reflections on his celebrity, and more focus on his manhood and his belief in fighting injustices wherever they live.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™