History & Social Studies Race & Racism

What MLK’s Legacy REALLY Looks Like

(I’ve decided to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy by celebrating his life and work all week. Check out the whole series and more here.)

What MLK Legacy REALLY Looks Like: Misrepresenting MLK

Many folks who champion the legacy of MLK, only speak of “patience” (read: slow down), “non-violence” (read: passivity) and peace (read: don’t be so angry).

So, it makes sense that there are more than a few folks on the “interwebs” complaining about the recent Bay Bridge protest on MLK Day.

I’m sorry to break it to you folks… but making peace dove garlands out of coffee filters is just not going to cut it! If you’re going to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King… this is a pretty bad-ass way to go.

(I seem to remember another big protest on a bridge once…. but I digress….)

Marchers assemble at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on January 18th, 2015

What MLK Legacy REALLY Looks Like: The MLK’s of Today

This post comes from an amazing SF public school mom, Julie Roberts-Phung, this past MLK weekend. She states:

If you evoked Martin Luther King’s name this weekend, take a look at these photos of Black organizers, many LGBTQ queer folks, and some parents shutting down the Bay Bridge yesterday. Remember Martin Luther King’s mugshot. He was not just about hope, dreams and children holding hands.

Like these leaders, he engaged in direct action, and got arrested to interrupt business as usual. He called attention to racism, and he was also anti-war and advocated for fair work and wages. We looked at these photos as family this morning, and they were a better history lesson than anything I’ve seen in a book.

The organizers of the Bay Bridge protest call themselves black.seed. Here is what they have to say about their reasons for shutting down the bridge:

on january 18th, 24 courageous organizers were arrested after shutting down the bay bridge. celebrating and honoring the radical legacy of dr. martin luther king jr. these freedom fighters took to the bridge in order to speak out against a system that continues to oppress black, queer, brown, indigenous and other marginalized people throughout the bay area. this is not a game to us.

we shut down the bridge because we are tired of watching our family, friends and loved ones harassed, assaulted, wrongfully criminalized, and killed by police. We are tired of apathetic city leaders who care more about unchecked profit and building luxury condos than providing jobs and affordable housing to the residents who have shaped this city.

we shut it down for mario woods, richard perkins, demouria hogg, yuvette henderson, and the many others who’s lives were stolen at the hands of violent police officers. please, show your support and help bring our courageous comrades home. any little bit helps.

(Click here if you want to support the organizers who go by the name black.seed!)

What MLK Legacy REALLY Looks Like: I’m Ready for My Close-up…

I am thankful for black.seed and other Black Lives Matter groups who are raising the voice of Black folks and people of color being terrorized at the hands of our criminal justice system. I appreciate their courage and want to support them in holding our elected officials accountable to serving ALL people, especially those in greatest need. This is what MLK’s legacy looks like today.

As parents and care-givers, we may not be able to participate in demonstrations or protests like these. But there are ways we can help. We can donate money and help to share their message on our social networks. At the very least, we can talk with our kids, friends, neighbors, family members and co-workers about the need to address system racism in our schools, workplaces and criminal justice system. To see more photos of the Bay Bridge Shutdown demonstrations click here.)

And BTW: if you are able to participate in future demonstrations… according to SFist, THIS is how you pose for an arrest photo…

Photo of Thea Matthews at Monday’s Bay Bridge Shutdown demonstration: Brooke Anderson Photography: Stills of Our Stories & Struggles/Facebook

I’d have to agree.

Does any of this make sense to you? How are you sharing Dr. King’s RADICAL legacy with your family, friends and community? 

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