Sanitize Your Hands, Not the MLK Holiday

Martin Luther King Jr

📸 credit: Minnesota Historical Society.

“The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”

“We want all of our rights, we want them here, and we want them now.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Understandably, MLK Day events and historical observances across the state are being canceled due to impending winter weather and a swirl of COVID’s newest variant. I joined a call of activists and researchers where we all expressed the frustration that COVID has brought to movement work. “2022 was supposed to be a better year,” one researcher said. “Last week alone there was a war on Black and Brown bodies in North Carolina and we couldn’t even hold protests.”

With domestic terror threats surrounding us, I can only echo the sentiments of those like Dr. Cornel West. The Scholar often reminds us that King’s message of nonviolence came with a “fiery urgency.”

In a keynote address to hundreds at Ebenezer Baptist Church on the 25th federal observance of King’s birthday. West told the crowd to remember King’s call to remember King as one of many “vital” persons whose powerful message was once even considered dangerous by the FBI. He referred to the “Santa Clausification” of King and some “Chicken Soup for the Soul Brother,” feel-good tripe.

The Root writer Danielle C. Belton said it best as she described the importance of #reclaimMLK:

“Somewhere between his assassination and today began an MLK-neutering campaign meant to turn the famed agitator’s holiday into a national Day of Service, a generic mishmash of good feelings that contorts King’s social-justice legacy into a blissful Hallmark card of post-racial nothingness.”

From Andrew Brown, to Fred Cox, racial reckoning and healing gatherings are needed now more than ever. Yes, those will have to happen differently again this MLK year.

For the past two years, this is a time to heal and what I need most at this moment is to return to a place of hope. I call them my “hope” resolutions.

Hope that this experiment deemed “democracy” will finally honor the rights of all.

Hope that every time I walk to my mailbox, I will return safely from a chillingly angry America.

Hope that Dr. King, in his prophetic wisdom and insight, was right and that unarmed truth and unconditional love will prevail.

Hope that I make my mom and ancestors proud.

Extending prayers for safety, hope, health and healing this week.


Antionette Kerr is a Lexington born business owner, author, journalist, publisher, rescue dog mom and media correspondent. She serves as co-director of Women AdvaNCe.

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