Today is MLK Day, a day of remembrance, reflection, and taking action to create a brighter future. I had the honor of virtually attending Boston University’s event titled “A Day of Celebration in Honor of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr“. It featured musical performances, speeches, and powerful essay readings, and all it takes is one sentence of one of James Baldwin’s works to realize that things still haven’t changed, even we like to believe they have.
Professor Ibram X. Kendi (Boston University) and Professor Eddie Glaude (Princeton University) were both speakers at the event and they have got me thinking more about what kind of world I want to live in.
This morning I also took a virtual trip to Austin Farm Sanctuary where I got to meet the funny and loving animals that live there. The pasts of these animals are, at times, truly horrific. Whether it be having experienced life in factory farms, neglect as a backyard animal, being sold at auction, or taken in by animal control, these animals have not had it easy, and it is us, humans, who have made it that way. My visit to Austin Farm Sanctuary showed by the best and the worst of us. It showed me the reality of the horrors that animals in this world face, but it also showed me our capacity for love, selflessness, and compassion, which are reasons that I dream of starting my own sanctuary someday.
While these two experiences today may not seem like they have much in common to you, they do to me. The way that we treat people and animals in our society whose lives we value less than ours matters, and it shapes the way that we teach others to live and what we teach them to value. The power of love and compassion in today’s world is not something to ignore, and I think that today is one of the most important days to remember that. The things that Dr. and Mrs. King fought for in the 60s are the same things that we fight for now, and in honor of their legacies, I urge you to do something today to make the world a better place. That thing can be small, like calling a friend to tell them you care about them or baking your mom her favorite dessert. Or it could be big like writing a letter to your senator, or starting a petition for a cause that is important to you. There is so much work that we all need to do on the individual level to combat racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, speciesism, and so much more, but together we can do it. I believe in your power, now you need to believe in it, too.
The Woodland Wallflower