Take A Break, People!

MLK, Jr. Taking a Well-Deserved Break

MLK, Jr. Taking a Well-Deserved Break

Plenty of well-meaning voices will tell us in the days to come that Barack Obama’s presidential victory, while historic and worthy of praise, means that the work of racial justice and equality has only just begun. To guard against complacency, the watchful and wounded will be full of meaningful warnings, counseling caution, and with the best of intentions, assure us that we have not yet reached the Promised Land.

After all, where would we be without the freedom fighters who refused to cross one item off our nation’s “to do” list without adding another? The alarming rates of poverty, income and health disparities, hate crimes, illiteracy, and sexual discrimination – the forces of tyranny never stop, so why should we? It makes sense that our guardians would expose the naivete of proclaiming this a “Post-Racial America” – the odd new catchphrase that covers up more than it conveys. Fair enough.

But there should also be time to take a step back and rejoice in the victories, small and large. Perhaps this moment is what King glimpsed on the mountaintop, perhaps not. We’ll never know if we don’t allow ourselves the opportunity to enjoy the view. So take a break, people!

Celebrate the very real power of your voice and your vote to express our highest ideals. Get to know the gifted poet, Elizabeth Alexander, who will deliver a poem in honor of Obama’s presidential inauguration. (And give thanks for the unexpected miracles, like a quick-thinking pilot who can crash land a plane of over 150 people in the Hudson River without losing a single soul.)

When I listen to the humbling voices of the elders and warriors still among us, one thing is clear: our Biggest Dreams can and do, in fact, come true. And if we don’t believe that, then what exactly have we been fighting for all this time? So take just a moment to relax, to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, and to gather your strength…for tomorrow.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. “What Tami Said” has just published a post on “Obama’s Victory is Just One Step.” I especially like this line:

    Black Americans can reconcile our tremendous hope and pride in our country’s gains with our legitimate fears. We must. On 20 January, we celebrate. On 21 January, we have more work to do.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/jan/16/barack-obama-inauguration-race

    Reply

  2. I’m glad no one was hurt in the crash, sounds like the pilot did a great job

    Reply

  3. I love this post! It applies to so many parts of life. It’s so easy, too easy, to be so vigilant that we miss the good when it happens, and that seems just as sinful as turning our back on the bad. Sort of like the line from The Color Purple about it making God pissed when we don’t stop to admire the color purple.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Wilhelmina Jenkins on January 17, 2009 at 5:03 PM

    I love seeing the variety of people participating in the inaugural celebration. And I can’t wait to hear Elizabeth Alexander’s poem!

    Reply

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