Fifty years ago tomorrow, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis, my hometown. I lived in white suburbia -- immune from, and to a great extent uneducated about, the strife suffered by the people he represented.
I was a sophomore in high school – the age of some of the students gunned down in Parkland, Florida. As I reflect on my teenage years, I stand in awe of those student survivors and believe their response evokes Reverend King’s message of non-violent protest and action.
His 9-year old granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King, ignited the crowds at March for Our Lives in Washington with her call and response: “Spread the word -- Have you heard -- All across the nation – We - Are going to be -- A Great Generation!”
Naomi Wadler, an elementary school student, also spoke on behalf of African-American girls whose stories don’t make front-page headlines.
I’m hopeful we’re witnessing a re-imagining of Dr. King’s dream through the leadership of these young people.
Locally, I’m encouraged by some of the results of the Democratic primary, particularly our African-American nominee for the 14th Congressional District, Ms. Lauren Underwood.
At the same time, voices of hatred and bigotry have found a spokesman in the 45th President.
But I must stop, reassess my own self, and resolve to deepen my understanding and involvement when I consider these words by Dr. King: “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”
I’m Paula Garrett, and that’s my perspective.