I walked into the lobby of my office last Saturday, excited to be sharing the mission of Daybreak Pregnancy Center with our neighbors at our new facility’s grand opening. Even though there was snow and ice on the ground, hundreds of people braved the cold to see our new space and get involved in our outreach to the community. The moment I stepped in the door, a friend pulled me aside from the flurry of activity and whispered in my ear with a sly smile, “Just FYI, Alveda King is sitting in your office right now.”
My jaw dropped.
Dr. Alveda King? Niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., activist, minister, and just all-around amazing woman? I was floored. With infinite generosity, she had dropped by our little event unprompted, prayed over our ministry, and encouraged all of us with her beautiful spirit. But the most profound thing she said as we all held hands together in the lobby that day was that she and her family had completely forgiven those who who were responsible for her uncle’s death. They had decided to turn that darkness into light. How extraordinary. How unimaginable.
It was such an unexpected privilege to meet Dr. King in the flesh, especially so close to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and it got me thinking: this Monday, how can each of us take a moment to remember this extraordinary man, and honor all that he has done?
- Take a stroll down Columbia’s Main Street with the self-guided Civil Rights Walking Tour, and learn first-hand about how the Civil Rights Movement shaped the history of our city.
- Talk to your children about Martin Luther King Jr., about how his philosophy of peace, unity, and nonviolence changed the fabric of our nation.
- Consider taking an implicit racial bias test to take stock of any unchecked bias or privilege you might be harboring without even realizing it. The results are fascinating and eye-opening.
- If you are not a person of color, spend a little time leaning into and reading up on the Black Lives Matter movement and see why it’s so important.
- And while you’re at it, check out Be The Bridge for brass-tacks strategies for being a racial bridge-builder in your everyday life, and Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack of white privilege.
- And perhaps most importantly of all, pour some light and love into the world this Monday. Buy the coffee of the person behind you in line. Hold the door for a stranger. Drop cookies off on a neighbor’s doorstep. Write a letter to a friend letting them know how much they mean to you. Leave nothing good unspoken. Because in the words of Dr. King, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Let’s each do our best every single day to drive out darkness with light.