“OUR LIVES BEGIN TO END THE DAY WE BECOME SILENT ABOUT THINGS THAT MATTER” ~~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ~
This rebuttal is in response to a commentary and article in the January 19th edition of the Enterprise Recorder by Rick Patrick.
I usually tend to ignore untruths posted in fake news articles locally and elsewhere, but I cannot remain silent this time. This time Dr. King’s words above resonate personally regarding your comments and coverage of the annual MLK Commemoration Program. I will not carefully choose my words in an effort to be politically correct, nor will I apologize for speaking my truth. I cannot remain silent because this matters to me.
Let me be clear: We’re not now, or ever will be seeking your approval, agreement, or affirmation of how we celebrate Dr. King. We are reminded almost daily of how far we still have to go to realize Dr. King’s dream of equality and respect for all humanity.
So how does one respond to your willful, dismissal, and disregard of the issues and concerns that were discussed? What was your purpose? Despite the fact that you profess to know how Dr. King would have responded to an eleven year-old reading from an Opinion Essay that she was asked to write by one of her teachers, you woefully missed the mark from your sunken place of audacious caucasity. The first thing you’re forgetting is that Dr. King was an agitator who resisted what he described as “unjust laws” in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”. He protested against inequality in all of its ugly forms. Dr. King was a revolutionary willing to bleed, go to jail, and die for what he believed in.
Secondly, Dr. King believed in the value of education. He said: “Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the fake, and the facts from the fiction. The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.”
That’s exactly what Amari Alexander did in preparation: she conducted her research to find out the etymology of “taking a knee”. Next, she interviewed family members who had served in the military to determine their viewpoints. The final step was to think intensively and critically in applying the topic to her general knowledge in order to form her own opinion and personalize the topic.
Who are you to pass judgment on an eleven year-old and try to vilify and defame her character? Did you interview Amari Alexander? Did you even speak to her? The resounding response to both questions is NO. According to Dr. King, your actions are akin to an “unjust law, which seeks to degrade human personality.” He believed that we have a moral responsibility to disobey those unjust laws. He also believed that the real heroes are those people who are fighting for what is best in the American Dream, to uncover the country’s true promise.
The world is changing; it is 2018. Our children have opinions and ideas that matter. They are human beings with thoughts of their own. They see what’s happening all across the country, and they have thoughts and opinions about everything. They discuss all kinds of issues at school every day. They don’t all think alike or agree with each other, but I’ve seen them discuss their differing opinions beautifully and respectfully without disparaging one another. What would Dr. King say to them? He’d say: “My young friends, doors are opening to you, and the great challenge facing you is to be ready to face these doors as they open.” We have to make sure we support our children and young people by giving them the space they need to learn and grow to the fullness of their potentials and humanity in an inclusive environment: inclusive of different dreams, thoughts, opinions, races, ethnicities, genders and orientations, religions, and political affiliations. Dr. King would also say: ”Young people, let your voices be heard! You’re our LEGACY of HOPE for tomorrow. Live out your dreams!”
Despite your effort to malign and defame the character of an eleven year-old girl-child, through veiled intimidation, misrepresentation, and Fake News, it will NOT work. You cherry-picked Dr. King’s well-known quotes to make a point and failed miserably. Dr. King wrote numerous books that I strongly recommend you read prior to attending another King Day Commemoration, and definitely before you presume to know what he would think or say.
You mentioned that Amari has been taught to think a certain way. Again, I ask: Did you interview her or address her in any way to find out who she is as a person? NO! I’ll tell you that the content of her character is one that I am proud for others to judge her by, and not the color of her skin. The content of her character is kind-hearted, honest, loving, generous, sensitive, forgiving, and respectful. She’s beautiful inside and out; she’s smart, creative, intelligent, opinionated, and optimistic. She’s a born leader; she loves all people, and they love her in return, both children and adults. Black and white parents ask for their children to spend time with Amari.
If you want to know what Amari has been taught, I advise you to read Dr. King’s “What Is Your Life’s Blueprint?” The number one lesson that I taught Amari comes directly from Dr. King’s address to a group of high school students shortly before he was assassinated: to believe deeply in her own dignity and worth, that she should never allow anybody to make her feel that she’s less than. She should always feel that she counts and know that she is Somebody, that her life has ultimate significance that is beautifully designed and planned by an all-Powerful Creator.
Finally, even though you felt the need to malign Amari’s character, if she were to meet you personally, based on what she was taught, she’d still greet you with that beautifully charming, shy-at-first smile, look you directly in your eyes, and converse with you respectfully.
I’ve always been a seeker of social equity and justice. Dr. King lived, breathed, and died “nonviolent resistance”. Therefore, I nonviolently resist your claims and falsehoods. You must “respect my existence or expect my resistence!”
I’m fighting for my own now. Amari Alexander is my phenomenal, blacknificent granddaughter, in whom I am well-pleased!
~Gwendolyn T. Hubbard (”Grand”)
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