Dr. King, The Revolutionary – Why We Need His Thoughts Now More Than Ever 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Americans like our leaders sanitized, captured in Pinterest quotes and witty tweets. We teach kids to swallow comfortable myths about historical figures, instead of thinking outside the box. But now in the age of Google, you and I can seek different narratives, rediscovering these men and women in the fullness of their humanity, not reduced to occasional  sound bites.

This is how I fell in love with Dr. King, the revolutionary. There I sat as the sun illuminated my childhood bedroom, tears streaming, college textbooks thrown haphazardly on the dresser, as I read what I believe is his greatest speech at the Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, “Beyond Vietnam – A  Time to Break Silence.”

I remember running excitedly to my mother’s room that day, “Mom, listen to what he said!” ” Yes,” she shook her head calmly, smiling, after I finished. “I know.” Of course she did; she lived through all of it, and I didn’t. And yet as much as she told us about Dr. King growing up, there reading his words, I discovered him for myself, anew – a man  deeply committed to revolution, such a radical and courageous way of being in the world.

Friday, as Trump was sworn into office, I thought of that day I sat enraptured by King’s words. How tragic is it that we are content to reduce his legacy and vision solely to the “I Have a Dream” speech? Perhaps its because doing so makes us feel better about upholding this illusion of “colorblindness?” 

I mean, if Dr. King said we should not judge by skin color, but instead look at the content of character, well, those people caught up in our massive prison industrial complex, and oppressed by economic and educational inequality, have all brought it on themselves. This perspective completely absolves us from questioning how systems, laws and institutions are designed to oppress whole segments of American society.

Questioning the status quo takes courage; most people are drawn to the comfort of denial.  Dr. King challenged not merely the government, but intersecting forces of domination – economic and social, militarism, our way of seeing one another. He understood the path forward meant transformation from within, and a revolution of values:

“A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies… True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see than an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. 

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.” 

Across the world people are waking up and they are resisting…

Not one of us knows what will happen during the next four years, but we can choose to cultivate values which take root in our hearts. We must begin to see one another in radical love, understanding there are commonalities within our struggles, while not denying the uniqueness of our truths.  

Perhaps in an odd way, the ascension of Trump is an advantage. It is giving rise to voices which have remained silent for far too long, and causing us to question the values in our society. But the even deeper and far reaching question is
this: How do we show up in everyday life? Is it with a heart of compassion, or one so hardened by our own pain that we cannot see ourselves in another living being?

Now, more than ever, we must become clear about what we value, so we can sow seeds of compassion and light, as we resist the toxicity of:

hatred

racism

patriarchy and white supremacy

homophobia / transphobia / xenophobia

social and economic equality

 

Further Reading:

Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Michelle Alexander

 

Who are you all reading these days? What are you doing in your community to sow seeds of understanding and love?

 

I’m Not Sorry for Daring to Dream

Emelda De Coteau
Follow Me:

Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
Follow Me:
Photo Credit: Keston  De Coteau, Keystone Productions  Hair / Makeup by Valencia Pearl
Photo Credit: Keston
De Coteau, Keystone Productions
Hair / Makeup by Valencia Pearl

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Life often beats dreams out of us. Practicality takes over, and before long a mortgage and car note have us sitting in an office or cubicle typing some minutia that means nothing in the end.

Sometime in adulthood, usually around the age of thirty, our youth-obsessed American culture says if we have not become a “success, ” hang it up and accept mediocrity. Perhaps it’s the rebel and activist in me, but I refuse to surrender and live outside my destiny. I am worth the life, the dreams, I seek.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
– Albert Einstein

It’s one of the reasons I founded Live In Color blog earlier this year. I dream of reaching millions of people through the power of words, photography, and video, with messages of empowerment, inspiration and hope.

Nothing in my background says I dare dream so boldly. My family is not wealthy. There are no degrees from Harvard, Yale or Princeton University hanging on the wall, no extensive connections. Still, none of this will stop me. Why should it?

Every invention, work of art, or piece of music we enjoy exists because someone, somewhere, did not apologize for their dream and pursued it relentlessly.

So, no, I am not sorry for dreaming, climbing out of boxes, stifling stereotypes and limitations people place on women, people of color and mothers. Our dreams have no expiration date. I will dream and work until my last breath, no apologies. No regrets.

Live In Color! – Emelda


I’m Not Sorry – The Movement

Join us in the I’m Not Sorry movement. It’s about accepting ourselves, our flaws, our truths, without regret and judgement. Do it in this moment. Stop apologizing for yourself, and start living!

We’re releasing details soon about a reader contest. We want to hear from you about what you are not sorry about.

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