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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Today, of all days, it would be remiss of me, as a Black woman in the United States, if I did not post. As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., and march closer to  Black History month, I find myself thinking about those people who make me proud to be a Black woman in the twenty-first century. It’s good to reflect on that, every now and again, when there are those like Michael Vick, who shame the race and should be ashamed of themselves both for that and for their own actions. That being said, there are many that make me proud. There are, of course, the usual Black history makers such as Dr.King, Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X, but they are far from the only. Here are just a few:

My parents, who raised me to believe in family, in education, in myself. I have never known stronger people than the two of them, and I miss them both. We lost my mother seven months before their fiftieth anniversary. Dad is still alive, but he has Alzheimer’s now, and in a lot of ways it’s like losing him too. He’s not the same person he was. But in their prime, both my parents were people to be reckoned with, and both my brother and myself had a healthy fear of both of them!

Dwight Arrington Myers, aka Heavy D, the rap star who was always a force for positivity. Unlike many celebrities, you didn’t hear anything negative about the Overweight Lover. He didn’t glorify gangsta rap, drugs, or crime, and more often than not, his music had a positive message to it that applies as much now as it did during the height of his popularity in the eighties and nineties, and maybe the messages need to be heard now more than ever. I wish him a peaceful journey now that he has passed from this world. Rest in peace, big guy.

Barack Obama. Regardless of what one thinks of his politics, to finally have a Black president is nothing short of a stupendous moment in history. He is the first Black president our nation has ever had. His election makes history, and I am gratified that I was able to see it, as it was something I never expected to see in my lifetime. Our children can now see that they can aspire to huge things and accomplish them. If for nothing else, I am grateful for that!

There are others, many others, who make me proud: doctors, lawyers, actors, singers, musicians, librarians, even janitors, but if I listed all of them, we would be here all day.

I am a Black woman of West Indian descent. My husband is White. My children are bi-racial. If not for Dr. King, among others, my family would have a very different form right now. As we celebrate his birthday, all of us should reflect upon the changes that he spearheaded, the changes that made this world a very different place than it could have been. In his honor, we should meet people from other cultures with open minds, clear hearts, and a spirit of curiosity and learning. No, the world is not perfect. It never will be, as we are not perfect. Prejudice still exists in all forms in the hearts of many, regardless of race. That’s a sad fact, and one we all have to face in our own souls. But the world could certainly be worse than it is, and Dr. King is one of the reasons that it is not. Honor that, and him. What he did, what he sacrificed, he did for all of us, not just Blacks.

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