Tag: Martin Luther King

Bleeding Heart

I don’t write diaries because I’d rather counter punch than initiate.  Also, I fear my true self will be exposed, and it ain’t pretty.  I am a proud bleeding heart liberal, as are most of the people at this site, but I’m also a reluctant militant.  Peaceful means just don’t work in America, never have.

Recently, around MLK Day, King was praised for his great successes, and I disagreed.  Kids in the slums are worse off today than they were 40 years ago.  Their schools are still underfunded and poorly staffed, their healthcare is Bushian–the ER at the local hospital.  They stand a better chance of being incarcerated, of being poorly represented in court.  I really wish all Americans were forced to watch the Wire on HBO–it tells it exactly the way I saw it in NYC–and it’s ugly.  The only time ghettos saw an effort by government was in the 1960s–riots released federal hush money.

Politics looks better today because of Obama–and he’s a powerful symbol of Black advancement in America–except, I should add, that the advancement is only for super African Americans–you know, the Harvard educated guy.  Those old enough can be reminded of Sidney Poitier coming to dinner.  In the neighborhoods I worked in, successful men were drug dealers and pimps–and the kids wanted to be like Mike–the sports fantasy out of poverty.  On second thought, there were very few men around Bed/Stuy, many were “away”–euphemism for in jail.

Unions seem less discriminatory lately–many teacher unions are lead by people not white.  Maybe that’s because unions have been so weakened that it doesn’t matter anymore. Corporations have learned how to defend themselves–with governmental assistance–and very few strikes seem to take place, even less succeed.  MLK would have been mighty surprised by this turn of events because he was killed before St Ronnie’s paradigm of trickle down bullshit.

Before ending this rant, I want to include a counter punch I wrote today about party politics and healthcare, so here’s a quote from melvynny–my Dkos moniker–

Some of the money donated to the Dem party should be used to set up health insurance consultation offices and phone bank/web sites.  As Parade states, everyone with insurance eventually gets a claim rejected. If we had experts fighting for those claims we would accomplish 2 great things.  Everyone would be grateful to the Dem Party, and more people would get their claims processed correctly and promptly.

My  idea is to emulate Hamas’ tactic of giving social service and getting political allegiance in return.

How Would Rev. Dr. MLK, Jr. Feel?

Bear with me for posting a Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.-themed diary a day late. Because of the holiday, the libraries where I do my computer work were closed. And last night’s Democrats’ debate, along with other things that have been on my mind, have made me wonder how the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would feel about…..

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the legacy remembered, the message that should not be forgotten

From Dennis Kucinich’s campaign site: http://www.dennis4president.co…

Keeping Dr. King’s Dream Alive — by mikepridmore

reposted with permission

Dr. King went to Democratic politicians for legislative support of his call for change. One of the most insightful explanations you will find on that is the one from Bill Moyers here:

What I Said At The TIme

I started writing a journal when I was 13 years old.  I still have that raggedy old spiral notebook.

Here’s what I said about Viet Nam.  Please don’t hate me for my prodigy-like brilliance:

I wonder when World War III will be.  I’m almost sure there’ll be one, because of all the fighting going on in Viet Nam.  You see, it all started because we didn’t want South Viet Nam to become Communist (a form of government where the government owns and controls everything) so we fought the Communists so that Viet Nam would be a democracy (an individualistic government, where it is run by the people, for the people).

Well so far, all that has happened is a lot of killing!  Also, Presidential elections are coming up in 1968 (November).  I sure hope Johnson isn’t re-elected.  I’m rooting for Bobby Kennedy or McCarthy!  (Even though I can’t vote, I’m only 13 years old!)

I wish that wars wouldn’t “be.”  We have such a short time to live, why does it have to be spent in fighting?


Tired of Talking About Racism?

On some positions a coward has asked the question is it safe? Expediency asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience asks the question is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right. – Martin Luther King Jr., November 1967

A few days ago, coincidentally on Martin Luther King Jr.’s real birthday, I was at a gathering of middling size where I only knew two people. While I sipped my club soda and nearly nodded off listening to someone buzz on and on about football, a conversation cluster within eavesdropping distance took up the subject of reservation casinos. I live in California and four Indian gaming referenda will appear on the ballot February 5, so a discussion of the topic was not a surprise. I’ve always had an (apparently inborn) ability to tune into conversations across a room while blocking out those in front of me, and my interest was piqued because whoever was explaining the gaming proposals seemed to know quite a bit about the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that led to these measures being put before the voters. Then I heard it. Somebody said, “It’s the redskins’ revenge.”

For the first time, I looked over that way, and all five people in the group were gently laughing or smiling or nodding assent.

I don’t think he meant it maliciously. Quite possibly he even thought he was being supportive. It’s doubtful he would have said “nigger” or “wetback” or “chink,” since there were African Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos in the room. But no obvious Indians. Because I don’t wear feathers, mocassins or a loincloth and can pass for white, he apparently felt unconstrained in making what I’m sure he thought was a harmless little joke. Maybe even a pro-Indian joke. I could have walked over and explained how infuriating what he had said was, how hurtful it was that everybody seemed to have enjoyed what he said. But it gets so bloody tiring dealing with the reactions. Not just the accusations of “political correctness,” the rolled eyes or the  “Aren’t you being too sensitive?” charges, inevitably delivered with a smile. But also the downward glances, the stammering, or even the apologies that so often greet an objection: “Oh, I’m sorry. I know that you  … uh… Native Americans object to that.”

As if it’s okay to deploy a slur when no member of the slurred ethnicity is around to be insulted? As if racism only matters to people of color? As if every one of us is not harmed to the core by such talk about any ethnicity and should object to it?

This incident – I can recount a dozen others I’ve witnessed in the 21st Century – made me ponder a great deal the theme I’ve heard so much of recently, on-line and off, that race and racism have been transcended in America. That we no longer need to talk about these matters because, well, because talking about them only engenders bad feelings about something that is fixed except in a few backward locales by people who will be dead soon anyway. That, 45 years after the summer day Reverend King made that soaring speech on the Washington Mall, his dream is wholly achieved.

Nobody can deny that tremendous progress has been made. Progress that is a testament both to the message of universal legal equality in the nation’s founding document and two centuries of fierce and costly struggle by people of color and their white allies to transform that message into reality. A testament to people’s willingness to change themselves, to surrender their prejudices and fears, to recognize injustice and do something about it, even to give up their lives if that’s what it takes. That progress cannot be sneered at. It reflects an America and Americans of all colors at their best.

Racism nonetheless remains a chronic influence in our lives. Yet many white people say they don’t want to talk about race. They say they’re sick of talking about it. That stuff is all in the past, they say, and wonder aloud why we can’t talk about something else. I think what most are really saying is that they don’t want to listen to talk about race.  

Revisiting the Mountaintop

I am an activist for my people.  I perform my activism with my words, which is the tool I have at hand.  Sometimes I am repetitive.  I am a teacher.  Some lessons are hard.  That’s a clue to the fact that they are important.  Important lessons need to be taught, time and again, using different words, approaching the issue from different points of view.  That’s what I do.  Some of you claim that I do it “ad nauseam”.

Many of you know me as the transsexual woman (or whatever you call me…I’m sure that it is not favorable in many instances).  Some of you know me as a poet.  Some of you see the teacher in me.  Or the glbt activist and PFLAG parent.  I am all of these.  I am a human being.

I was born in a place and time.  I have absorbed the life lessons presented to me since then.  I am still learning.

I’ve tried to pass on what I have learned.  I continue to make that effort, in whatever new venues are available, wherever I can find an opened eye or ear.

“This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”

“Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring-when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children-black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics-will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

–I Have a Dream

–August 28, 1963

Dr. King’s Greatest Speech


I don’t think it’s the “I have a dream”  speech, either in its Washington, DC, or earlier Detroit versions.  I think Dr. King’s greatest speech was given on April 4, 1967, to a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City.  It’s “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.”  Exactly, a year later, on April 4, 1968, Dr. King was murdered in Memphis.

Dr. King’s holiday is a day when I hope we can pause for a moment to remember Dr. King, to read this timeless speech of four decades ago, and to recommit ourselves to the struggle for peace and justice.  And most important, I hope we can find ways to re-dedicate ourselves to action for peace and justice.

It’s also important to remember on this holiday not the sanitized, uncontroversial, bland version of Dr. King that the traditional media now commemorate.  The version who gave the “I have a dream speech” and did nothing else of importance.  To the contrary, it’s extremely important to remember the Dr. King who was wiretapped and surveilled by the FBI and state governments, and who was constantly attacked in the media as a Communist and an outside agitator and a revolutionary.  And the Dr. King who was despite his courage in actual physical danger, along with his wife and children, for every waking minute of every one of his days.  And the Dr. King who was threatened quite publicly with lynching and bombing and shooting so regularly by racists, white supremacists and reactionaries of every stripe. And the Dr. King about whom so many Americans expressed their outspoken hatred and contempt even in polite company, at the dinner table, and in their houses of worship.

Join me at the Riverside Church.  

Kucinich wins presidential endorsement from key Mexican American organization and more! w/poll

From Dennis’ campaign site site:

Kucinich wins presidential endorsement from key Mexican American organization

Ohio Congressman and Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich gained a significant endorsement today from the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), a progressive advocacy organization based in California and well known for its work in the areas of civil and human rights.

Peace History – This Past Week

Below you will find abit about the History of this Planet that makes for such a turbulent World to live in, from one of the many sites, found on the web and before that, and still, in the many history books written to supposedly help us humans remember and not repeat the failed policies and actions of the past.

These track the importance of what man does, the failures and the recognition, leading to the  actions, or lack of, of many trying to right the wrongs to bring about a better World to exist in and leave a better World for those that follow.

We Fail Miserably in the study of the past, as we repeat the wrongs, more than the rights, over and over, while creating more wrongs!

Remembering Dr. King’s True Legacy


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King recognized the importance and validity of direct action as a tactic in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail:

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling, for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.

In honor of Dr. King and in light of the past 7 years and the horrendous list of illegal, unconstitutional acts by the Government, a list that I will not bother to recount here, I think it’s time for us to reconsider the role that direct action can now play in restoring America to its most Democratic, humane, and decent principles.

Creating of constructive, nonviolent tension even in the face of threats of extremist violence is Dr. King’s true legacy.  My hope is that in honor of his birth we will find the courage to do as he would have.

Give the Candidates the MLK Test w/poll!

On the day after his birthday celebration, and with the argument over his legacy going on amongst the big two Democratic candidates, perhaps it’s a good time to look at how MLKjr might look upon the Democratic candidates.

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