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MLK Day: Keeping The Dream Alive


MLK Day: Keeping The Dream Alive

Many people will celebrate this MLK Day by kicking back and sleeping in; content to be free from punching the proverbial clock. They won’t note the importance of the occasion, let alone the gravity of the man the holiday’s meant to honor. No, to them it’s simply just another three day weekend.

Many other people however will indeed take great note of the occasion. Some will attend lectures and rallies and marches and parades. Others will volunteer and engage with the community in ways designed to help as well as to inspire. Still others will sit down with their children and explain the role King played in our nation’s history. They’ll also explain the role he continues to play. For as his last speech makes clear, his message not only still rings true, it shows we’ve still got work to do.

And what of that glorious last speech? The speech that begins in Ancient Egypt and ends in then present day Johannesburg, Nairobi, Accra, New York, Atlanta and Jackson, as well as, of course, in Memphis, right where the Modern Day Prophet would meet his own end.

The speech that would then go on to talk about the new New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, and — yes! — the new Memphis; and then praised the preachers who were responsible for creating all the greater glory that was to come.

The speech that addressed the blade which went into the chest of the man who spoke that speech a full decade beforehand. The blade that would have left him dead had he even sneezed. The speech that addressed all the extensive extra precautions now needed to be taken wherever he went, however he went there. Precautions that would not be extensive enough to keep him from being assassinated the very next day.

The speech that promised The Promise Land, to everyone, even if everyone didn’t include him. The speech that showed the visions of prophets, the courage of saints and the grace of better angels. That last speech.

And so I’m happy, tonight.
I’m not worried about anything.
I’m not fearing any man!
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!

The good folks at American Rhetoric have honored him — and us — with a transcription of that last speech. That speech which has come to be known as “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” On this MLK Day, please, take the time to read along as the great orator delivers one of the most inspiring and electrifying speeches ever to be addressed.

MLK Day in the NBA

Sideline Ace Nick Gallo, who covers the Oklahoma Thunder for the NBA, grabbed his MLK Day angle from team center Derrick Favors. The Day takes on special resonance for the Atlanta native, who grew up just 20 minutes from many landmark MLK locations, including his homes (on Auburn and Sunset Avenues), his alma mater (Morehouse College) and his church (Ebenezer Baptist).

“Pretty much the whole of Atlanta is MLK,” smiled Favors.

Seems Favors and his OKC teammates will also be warming up today in t-shirts that read “NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE JUSTICE A REALITY FOR ALL” on one side and “HONOR KING” on the other. So will the opposing Dallas Mavericks. They won’t be the only NBA teams garbed to support MLK though. Far from it. In fact, since there are 12 games being played this Day, 22 other teams will also be tricked out to mark King’s legacy.

“It’s a special day, a special moment, a special game,” said Favors. “It’s an opportunity to come out there and remember what he represented, remember what he stood for and make that a great day to play basketball.”


MLK Day isn’t the only way the Thunder follow King’s dreams either. Seems the organization has created what’s called the Thunder Fellows program. The Fellows took in its first Black high school class this past fall, all from Tulsa. And that class will be privy to enhanced educational opportunities in the fields of data science and analytics. Gallo says there’s also a bent towards the sports and entertainment fields. That means the Fellows will be hearing from top-of-the-line companies like Google, HBO, Universal Music Group, Wilson Sporting Goods and even the Thunder’s basketball science department.

It figures Favors would be heavily focused on educating the next generation — he’s got three kids of his own. Oh, it’ll still be some time before Dad will be able to truly impart Dr. King’s wisdom and message (his kids are all under the age of 8). When he does though, it’ll be because he believes our tomorrows are dependent upon what the best of our ancestors learned, and that those lessons still hold relevance today.

Sounds like our kind of superstar NBA center. It also sounds like one helluva dad!

MLK Day Around the Country

In addition to Washington DC’s 16th Annual Peace March, nearly every American city has some kind of MLK Day celebrations. Here are three of the largest:

Boston: 52nd Annual MLK Memorial Breakfast
Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

Founded 51 years ago by St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church and Union United Methodist Church, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast is unquestionably the nation’s longest-running breakfast celebration.

Philadelphia: Martin Luther King Day of Service
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia / Girard College

Serving folks in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware and put together by Global Citizen, the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service is reportedly already the largest MLK event in the nation. This 27th edition promises to be even larger, despite COVID protocols. Please stay safe.

New York: The 36th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House

Of the scores of MLK Day events that are going on around New York City, the 36th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is the largest. It’s also perhaps one of the most regal. Then again, it does take place at the opulent Brooklyn Academy of Music and features a cavalcade of NYC’s best and brightest speakers and entertainers.

And here are links to a few of some other rewarding holiday events:

Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Memphis, Atlanta.

Happy MLK Day!

Healing Properties wishes everyone a Happy MLK Day! No matter how you celebrate the occasion, please take a minute or three and honor the man. Because he’s just the kind of man that made America the great nation it’s become. No foolin.’ MLK stands for everything we’ve always stood for — dignity for all. And that should never be forgotten.

It should be especially remembered by the recovery community. If you’ve struggled with substance abuse, then somehow, somewhere, you’ve in some way suffered prejudice of some sort. No, it probably wasn’t race-sized prejudice. It didn’t have racism’s endemic history either. But it was there. You were discriminated against simply because you were different. It could’ve been in a hospital or clinic. It could’ve been by the cops. Heck, it could even have been from your family and/or friends. Because wherever someone is different, someone else generally has issues with that difference.

We should honor Mr. King regardless of whether we’ve suffered directly though. Why? Because even if we haven’t suffered directly, someone we know and love most definitely has felt discrimination’s hate. And wouldn’t you want to help those you know and love?

Of course you would. In every way possible. That includes being treated. So if you know someone who’s suffering — or if the sufferer is you yourself — please give us a ring. Make MLK Day the first day in the rest of their (or your) life. You won’t regret it.

(Image: Minnesota Historical Society via Wikimedia Commons)

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