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Reflections in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Today’s reflection in honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday will include the stanzas to a poem written by Shel Silverstein (from Good Reads) from the perspective of what African Americans can do to bring unity to the family and community. After all, the principles he taught have the power to heal not only the world, but small family units and communities if applied.

No Difference

Small as a peanut,
Big as a giant,
We're all the same size
When we turn off the light.

Think for a moment about the people in your family who have achieved a high measure of success. Now, consider the members of your family who struggle. Is there a great divide between the two? Are you one who struggles with anger or disdain upon those who can afford through honesty to enjoy the better things in life?

Maybe you have the comforts of life. Have you gathered the members of your family around you that are not so fortunate? Set a goal to come together this year. The greatest commodity is your time. Each of you can afford that. Work to build unity.

Wealth

Rich as a sultan,
Poor as a mite,
We're all worth the same
When we turn off the light.

In Dr. King’s day, families and communities came together in great strength. Many would not have survived if they had not done so. Community building has been your heritage since your ancestors lived in the villages of Africa. Let not the acquisition of things replace that, because you will find you truly have nothing without family.

Teach your children that the quest in life is really not about the haves and the have not’s. Teach them that hard work and strong moral character are values to be embraced. Sometimes there is no easy way out-no quick fix. That’s where the measure of one’s integrity determines the outcome. There were days in the past where families and communities came together with very little, but they accomplished great things. You have more and can do more.

Hair and skin

Red, black or orange,
Yellow or white,
We all look the same
When we turn off the light.

No matter light skinned, dark skinned, or medium brown you are all the same and should treat each other the same. Long hair, short hair, Straight hair or natural it makes no difference. How much time and money would you save if skin pigment and hair texture and length no longer were ways to judge or compete?

Is it fruitful to continue traditions that were designed to divide you from the start? Do you categorize family members this way? Look at the photos of Dr. King and his family being shared around the web over the next week. Is it hair texture or skin color that draws people from every walk of life to commemorate his life? No, it is the measure of the stature of a man and his mission.

Look within, not without

So maybe the way,
To make everything right
Is for God to just reach out
And turn off the light!

So as long as the light reflects upon ills within the family or community, turn your focus within and toward healing. The light within you will then emanate outward and shine on the whole world. Like Dr. King, you will not be able to measure its effects.

To some this reflection may seem somewhat harsh or that it oversteps the bounds of being politically correct. Just remember,

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

See The King Center to learn more about his life.

Be sure to follow to receive the next update from the National African American History Examiner.

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