This morning I recorded the latest episode of the Unfiltered Snapshot podcast Honoring MLK: A Day Off or On? This upcoming Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In the week leading up to this holiday, I have reflected on how I have seen MLK Day being acknowledged in my current life, in my binge watching of TV shows, and in the early years of my career with two AmeriCorps programs. I invite you to listen to this episode as I examine the different ways that people choose to honor MLK on this special day.
After I recorded the podcast, I could not help but consider the current national context of this holiday. As I discussed more than a week ago in the podcast episode It’s Our Anniversary, it has been more than a year since the insurrection at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Last year I processed what life was like in the days following this horrific event in the blog posts Unity, Security, and Being More Educated.
Not everything I write or speak about has so much gravity. I do cover topics with more levity in episodes like last week’s Let It Snow.
After I recorded last week’s episode, I went for a walk in my neighborhood. I was cutting through a parking lot a few doors down from me when I saw the car in the photo above. This car had two bumper stickers. The bottom one said, “Stand up for your country. Then top one had an image of former President Trump and said, “They’re not really after me. They’re after you. I’m just in the way.”
Reading that last message made my stomach drop. There is something very “Us vs. Them” in the mentality of that bumper sticker.
It makes me wonder what significance MLK Day really has in this political climate. Although the country has been under a new presidency for a year, it is difficult to gauge how much progress the United States has really made since that transition.
Where do we go from here?
I believe in hope, but I also believe in hope that is grounded in reality.
Yes, I look forward to MLK Day on Monday, but what meaning does it have in this year’s context compared to a year ago? What does it mean now compared to 1986 when MLK Day was declared a federal holiday? How much progress has this society made today compared to 1968 when MLK was assassinated?
According to this headline from The Washington Post, MLK Day: King family to lead D.C. march for voting rights.
How will you honor MLK Day?