MLK Day of Service

Headshot of Martin Luther King Jr.

Photo Courtesy of the Nobel Peace Organization

Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in this day of remembrance that’s a National Holiday and a day of National Service. Reverend King Jr. spent much of his career advocating for civil rights, racial equality, and human rights. In the 1960s, he, along with other leaders of the time, was largely responsible for the wave of changes to laws that had been so harshly discriminatory to Blacks, other people of color, and women.

Some people don’t think any more of Martin Luther King Day than the fact that it’s a holiday and a day off work. Thank goodness, there are many more who recognize the importance of what he did and the need to celebrate and honor that.

The Civil Rights Movement was the beginning of an end to school segregation and housing discrimination, known as Redlining, which is a discriminatory practice that consists of the systematic denial of mortgages, insurance loans, and other financial services to people based on their race or ethnicity.

Redlining was, and still is, unfortunately, a racist federal housing policy in the United States that existed predominately from the 1930s to the 1960s. As part of the sweeping Civil Rights Act signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, The Fair Housing Act of 1968 was passed to fight the practice of redlining.

In the early 60s, I was active with a small group of protestors who were fighting this practice in a suburb of Detroit. My sociology professor at college made me aware of problems I’d not known much about until then – bigotry and prejudice and discrimination.

That’s when I first became “woke” and have been ever since, constantly learning and growing in my awareness of how racial prejudice still dictates so much of what goes on in government, business, and social arenas. The more I’ve learned, the more I’ve tried to incorporate that into the Seasons Mystery Series, letting Sarah and Angel evolve into a better understanding of their differences as well as what they share as women detectives, and well, just people who share space in this world.

My hope is that I’m doing them justice.

On this MLK Day of Service, I won’t be out to join a parade or any other gathering in a park. It is frigid here in Texas and my old bones are telling me to stay indoors.

However, I can use my voice here to encourage more open conversations about the issues of racial or gender inequality within family, school, workplace, church, or other social gathering places.

I can use my voice here to encourage people to vote with thoughtful consideration of a candidate’s stance on inequality, from local to federal elections, and what that candidate plans to do to address the problems.

I can use my voice here to invite people to get to know people of other races, really know them. Have a cup of coffee together and talk about family and anything else we have in common. There is a lot there, as I’ve been learning in my interactions with a DIL from Taiwan, Black friends, and Mexican neighbors.

The Points of Light website has some suggestions on how we can honor and foster the work of Martin Luther King Jr. It’s a helpful and comprehensive listing of ideas on everything from using our voice, our resources, and our work to make an impact on civil rights. There are some suggestions for things to do without having to go out in the cold, and I’m going to check that out.

Will you be marking this day in any way? Do let me know in a comment. And whatever your plans are for the day off work, be safe. Be happy.

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