Today I had every intention of celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by doing something special to commemorate him.
I planned on going to a museum to learn more about the Civil Rights Movement, or viewing a play written in his honor, or perhaps singing Negro spirituals in my bedroom. I didn’t want today to feel like just another day off.
But none of this happened.
I ended up going out to brunch with a friend in Los Feliz, I drove to an audition in Beverly Hills, I went shopping for sweaters at Marshalls (where I wished the black saleswoman a Happy King Day), and I ended the day by making crafts with my good friend Larissa. It hardly felt like a celebration of Dr. King’s life, and honestly, how I spent the day didn’t seem noteworthy for such a significant day.
But as I began to think about Dr. King’s life, and how I could emulate his sacrifice in my own life, I realized that my life is a reflection of Dr. King’s dream.
For the last two years, I have worked for a non-profit that teaches youth (primarily those who are economically disadvantaged and ethnic minorities) how to find success in school and business. Each week, I send role models of every hue and color into classrooms, where they teach young Latino and black kids.
And when I visit these classrooms, I stand in front of the students as a college-educated African American woman who can show them from experience that opportunity and success are within their reach, despite their color and class.
Tonight I realized that when I find myself in front of the camera as a spokesperson or actor (my side-hustle), representing a local company or a national corporation, I am living out King’s dream.
Dare I say that even today I lived out King’s dream?
The friend whom I had brunch with is Chinese-American, and we ate at a restaurant with mostly white patrons, and no one blinked when we walked in.
And when I went to purchase my discounted sweaters at Marshall’s, I didn’t have to stand in a separate line. Also, the friend whom I made crafts with—Larissa—she’s married to a white man named Steve, and their son, like so many children in the U.S. today, is bi-racial.
Dr. King’s work changed everything.
am privileged to celebrate his life, not just today, but every day.