When I was in the 2nd grade my teacher elected to mark Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day in a unique way. We spent the entire day of learning listening her (and maybe some volunteers) read the entire class a story. Ms. Phillips read a kid-friendly book about Dr. King. The climax of the story, again kid-friendly, was the “I Have a Dream” speech he delivered at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.
The “I Have a Dream” speech is arguably the most significant piece of oration of the 20th century. Dr. King outlined a vision and inspired hundreds of thousands to work towards that ideal. (At some point during my elementary school education I was required to memorize passages from this speech. Anyone else?)
And 50 years later we still have work to do.
This weekend in Washington, DC there will be an anniversary March on Washington. I know very little about what is planned beyond a lengthy list of sponsorships and I know a few of the speakers. I wonder how this new march will awaken and reawaken the conscience of the American people to see that while we have made progress, we are not there.
As I prepare for the coming new year I am asking myself how will I awaken to the suffering of the people around me? How will I elevate the stories of those who are silenced?
I’m participating in #blogelul this year. There are different writing prompts for every day as Jews around the world begin to prepare in body and spirit for the New Year, Rosh Hashanah. I don’t post on my blog on Shabbat so on Sunday I will select one of the themes from Saturday or Sunday for my posting. Here’s the Elul theme calendar.