Lorriane Motel I have a dream

My brother and I recently embarked on an impromptu 19-hour road trip from my home in Columbus to his in Dallas. As we approached Memphis around dinner time, we stopped for barbecue. We didn’t really have a choice. It’s road trip law that you must eat whatever the town is famous for.

The BBQ joint we chose just happened to be next to the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King JR was assassinated by a sniper on April 4th, 1968. Renovated, preserved and now a civil rights museum, it feels like sacred ground.

It was late on a Sunday evening, the tourists were all gone, so the grounds of the hotel/museum were a ghost town, complete with all the eerie, creepy, lonely feels. Witnessing where this true American hero took his last breath at the hand of hatred, I was surprisingly moved and challenged to examine my heart for the lingering prejudice that I pretend is not there.

Standing in front of that balcony — that shrine to hope and love and a dream — made me want to be a better person. To honor not just his legacy, but all of humanity.

I was reminded by this random stop on our road trip that there are no coincidences. I needed to be there and absorb that history lesson because it changed me, improved me somehow.

Our country can feel like a mess sometimes. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the latest reports of bigotry, racism, hatred, and divisiveness. But when I look for it, I also see love, hope, growth, inclusion and infinite possibility. I see people working together to achieve MLK’s dream, not in some distant future generation, but in our lifetime. And we’re no longer seeing things in just black and white, but every color in the rainbow.

To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what part I’m supposed to play in all of this. But I’m open and willing, listening and seeking for opportunities to do what I can, with what I’ve got, right where I am. And I realize that’s easy for an upper-middle-class, white, male business owner to say. It’s a lot harder to actually do.

But that is no reason to not try.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

9 replies
  1. Marlo Fox
    Marlo Fox says:

    Reading this book is a great start, especially for people in the majority culture who are driven by their faith to confront racism in America: White Awake, by Daniel Hill

    Reply
  2. Beau Euton
    Beau Euton says:

    The first step in my mind is that as white people we have to recognize that we don’t know what it’s like to be black. I think that takes a level of compassion and heart work to get there. I have struggled with this race issue for quite a while and how I can be an advocate against some of the hatred out there and be for people. But, like you, I don’t know where to start as a white woman.

    Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Beau, I’m going to check out the book Marlo mentioned above called “White Awake”. Looks interesting and definitely might expand our perspective a bit in a good way.

      Reply
  3. Dionne R. Miller
    Dionne R. Miller says:

    Mark, this post is the beginning of your part. And from what I read, you are not “playing” a part but living your heart. Posting your experience has touched me and please believe that action(s) are hard for most people. That’s where we find courage. Stay strong and keep moving yourself and others positively forward in love. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Mark,

    The first step is acknowledging the privileges you have in society simply by being you– acknowledging the way you look comes with inherent rights, respect, and sometimes opportunities. What you can do is acknowledge how others may not have that same set of privileges. Use your powers for good, whenever you can, wherever you. That doesn’t mean you need to walk up to black folks and give them handouts, but having an understanding of systemic oppression coupled with understanding creates a more inclusive society. One of the best things you can do right now is be a good parent. Role model inclusive language, behaviors, and show your children what is means to respect people of difference.

    Reply
  5. Tom Ventling
    Tom Ventling says:

    Thanks for being there then and bringing your wisdom back to share. This issue is ongoing and I work to be woke.

    Reply

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