If only for one day. This MLK’ birthday, skip the movie Selma. I hear it’s a very good movie, but don’t do it this Monday. Around my Metroplex people are honoring this Humanist by celebrating it together at the movies.
That’s great – in fact Dr. King once said “The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty.” For many of us, we can certainly empathize, however regardless of how “passive” you may have found Dr. King’s message, he was an activist who fought and spoke out against hunger, poverty, and inequality. Eradicating those was as much a part of his dream as ending segregation. Regardless of his religious or political ideology, those values represent many of our own best qualities as Humanists. And every chance I get to mention Dr. King – I do my best to include his secular “dean” – A. Philip Randolph and tireless organizer Bayard Rustin. He didn’t do this alone through the work of his god.
This weekend you may find me sucking up my pride, muting my occasionally overzealous Atheist “outside voice” and working with others I fervently disagree with on faith and belief. I may be packing lunches/toiletries, bagging clothes, or just handing out bottled water to those I could have been one of. I may be uncomfortable – but so what? Do the same. Find ways to live that part of his legacy.You don’t have to picket or march – you can clothe and feed. I urge you to partner with those you normally wouldn’t because they have an infrastructure we have not been able to mimic – but if that’s too much, organize yourselves – or do something else. Matter. Make someone else feel like they “are somebody”. You still have time. Make it a family thing. I have enough children of my own that I have a secular meetup every time I’m in the fridge. Thanksgiving soup kitchens are great, but people hurt and need – year round.
AND after a day of giving – or contributing to someone’s dream, if you still have anything left –GIVE MORE, but if you can’t, reward yourself with the movie then.
I don’t know if its the movie, but here’s one of my favorite MLK quotes:
“The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.”