The month of February is dedicated to Black History Month (BHM). The Gabriola Arts Council began February 1st with a BHM quiz featured on artsgabriola.ca. Not a contest, but encouragement to research the answers and for us all to learn together.
To follow is an excerpt of Martin Luther King Jr’s address on August 28, 1963, close to sixty years ago, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., to describe his vision of America to over 200,000 people, black and white, who came to listen and demand equal rights for black people. Upon reading this today, we ask, are there equal rights for black people? Are there equal rights for all people who were not born white?
Racism is not a thing of history. Systemic racism is woven into the fabric of our community and communities around the world. We encourage you to have uncomfortable conversations with your friends and neighbours because conversations can change minds. To bring someone out of a racist slumber, where they may not even know they rest their head, is an act which is cause for celebration. We invite you to learn, appreciate, empathize, share. We invite you to embrace the human experience and question your perspective.
Marin Luther King Jr., August 28, 1963
“Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you, my friends, we have the difficulties of today and tomorrow.
I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day out in the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by their character.
I have a dream today.”