“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I don’t think I have enough words to describe how the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has inspired me as a Black man, let alone what he has done for me and my mental health. His commitment, his passion, his legacy… it obviously reaches the far corners of the earth, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk a little bit about how he has reached me as an individual.
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My 8th Grade Role
I remember back in the 8th grade, we were doing a play for Black History Month, and our teachers were casting students to play Black leaders. I cannot tell you how bad I wanted to play Dr. King. If there was one person in Black history that I knew and was inspired by, it was him. I fought tooth and nail to get the role.
I didn’t get it. (I was cast as Thurgood Marshall, however, so it wasn’t too bad. I can’t complain too much.)
From that day in the 8th grade, all the way through my life as a 35 year old influencer living right outside of Philadelphia, my connection with Dr. King runs deep. To this day, I reflect deeply upon his words and his tenacity to fight for what is right. He is such a beautiful soul. No matter what was thrown his way, he ALWAYS stood up for himself and his people.
How could you NOT be inspired by that?
A Trip To DC
I still remember back in, I want to say 2016, I took a trip to Washington DC with some close friends of mine. We were planning on being the typical tourists and hitting up every monument, some of which we’ve seen before. But at the time, I had not seen the Dr. King memorial in person, just in pictures.
Pictures don’t do it justice.
I remember standing there in silence just looking up at this massive stone structure. A structure carved in the shape of Dr. King. A structure that just exudes power and pride and humility. I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes. I stood there in silence for what felt like YEARS just staring and thinking about this man and what he’s done for his people and this country.
Thinking of Dr. King
I think of him whenever I am facing trying times myself. Honestly, I feel sometimes as a Black man, I am just simply misunderstood. I feel like I am often held to this impossible standard that I often fail to meet it seems. I would never remotely compare my life to the life of Dr. King, but I do take inspiration from that man.
He was doubted. He was beaten. He was hated. But no matter what, he persisted. He kept going because he believed in himself and he believed in his words and he believed in his journey.
How could I not draw inspiration from that? Especially as a Black man.
Celebrating His Legacy
This week, as we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I reflect upon my experiences as a Black man in this country. This week, I think about the people all over the world who are doing their best to make a positive impact on their community and their people. This week, I am so thankful for many of us having a very strong understanding as to who Dr. King was, what legacy he has left, and what he means to people around the world today. Especially me.
In 2023, I will celebrate the life of Dr. King by being a positive advocate in my community and on my platform. I want to do my damndest to amplify the voices of the people who also pursue a world full of peace, love, and acceptance.
That’s how I celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this week … how about you?