January 20, 2015– Atlanta, GA– “I have a dream..that one day… ” (inserts personal statement***) Dr. Martin Luther King will be remembered for the fight just as much as the victory!
Yesterday, people all across the nation united to celebrate the legacy of one of the greatest leaders this country has ever seen, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Often referred to as MLK Day, we use this time out of the office and school, to remember the victory of Dr. King and prominent Civil Rights Leaders in their tireless efforts towards ensuring a better future for generations to come.
We, the generations they fought for, are here… but we have something more to say. As we journey through our Roaring 20s, one thing is for sure, we are roaring. Nationwide, large corporations and retailers capitalize on MLK DAY by offering special sales and enticing the addiction of consumerism that is attacking our country daily. Not only our country, but more specifically, our community– the African-American community. MLK DAY has transformed into yet another excuse to patronize and party. Party promoters across the nation, including Atlanta, target the socialization of MLK DAY by hosting “I have a Dream.. Parties?” Or even “Dream Winning Weekend, Now Turn Up!?” Wait, what? The LGBT Community refers to MLK weekend as “Winter Pride.” And we wonder why we can’t get our agendas across without some type of resistance? We use Dr. King’s legacy and national holiday as yet another chance to Get Money, off of our fellow brothers and sisters via a turn up affair, but I digress.
In lieu of the 50 year anniversary of the infamous March in Selma, and the release of the Golden Globe Nominee, Selma—-A MUST SEE–we use this time to not only remember the victory… but we pay close attention to the fight. Yesterday, I found myself in the midst of a protest against the commercialization of the National Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr…..
It was one of the MOST empowering events I have ever experienced.
It takes the wisdom of the elders and young people’s energy— Common & John Legend, Golden Globe Winner, Glory
1:47pm Downtown Atlanta, GA: How do I even express the emotions I felt yesterday afternoon? It’s almost impossible. I came to the parade, hoping to be apart of a culture rich experience that paid homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but I got SO MUCH MORE! I stood alongside the parade, but I noticed a group of young people chanting freedom versus, holding up signs. A girl like me had to jump in, I mean I Live For Positive Energy… and I’m pretty loud (former cheerleader) so why not lend my voice? I walked across the parade to join the group filled with a diverse group of young people, eager to share their attitude about MLK DAY.
2:03pm Downtown Atlanta, GA: We then entered the parade route, and staged a die-in. Everyone laid on the ground, to stop the parade– literally. It worked. Our voice was heard… and people paid attention. The goal was to shed light on the fight Dr. King fought, rather than the watered down image of who Dr. King really was. The organization behind the movement, #ItsBiggerThanYou kept in mind the safety of each participant during the event. Members spoke directly to Atlanta Police to ensure there would be no legal force or arrests during our demonstrations.
2:35pm Auburn Avenue Atlanta, GA: We finally made it to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. historic district, in the heart of downtown Atlanta. I was so intrigued by the presence of the black community. The Divine Nine had a powerful presence throughout the afternoon. I saw several shirts that read:
“I can’t breathe,”
“I am Trayvon Martin,”
“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”
Take a peek at some of the moments captured from the afternoon in the image gallery below:
Our goal was not to cause chaos, it was to reclaim MLK DAY. The children who attended the parade stood in amazement, put their fists up, and understood the context of each word chanted during the march. After remembering Dr. King’s legacy in such an electrifying way, I am OOZING with black empowerment. I find myself totally identified as a black, socially conscious, educated, energized, unified, liberated woman– with a voice. I now realize how much truth is behind the movement #ItsBiggerThanYou
Whether you honor Dr. King’s legacy as a day of service or a day of reclaiming the legacy of MLK, as long as your voice is being heard.. that’s what matters most.