Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Civil Rights Day

This was supposed to be posted on Monday for the holiday, but I kinda missed late and a dollar short. However, I am still going to post it because this is actually a thing that bothers me.
Oh damn! She's gettin' on her soapbox! RUN!
For those of you who don't know: every year on the third Monday of January, forty-eight states celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I think that is wrong.
Oh hell no! You did NOT just say that.
Hear me out, I have NOTHING against Mr. King and I am NOT a racist, I just think that the day should be called Civil Rights Day instead. Both New Hampshire and Arizona call it Civil Rights Day and while I have no idea what their reasons are for keeping that name when so many other states have changed it, here is why I believe it should be called Civil Rights Day:

The Eclipsed
I would bet that most students in the US could tell you who Martin Luther King, Jr is. But could they tell you about Medgar Evers? How about William Edward Burghardt Du Bois? Charles Hamilton Houston? Harry and Harriette Moore? Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson? Could they tell you anything about them? Do they even know who they are? Do you?
Sweet glasses and classy mullet dude!
This has to be one of those guys, right?
All of the people above contributed significantly to the fight for African American equality. Some even died for it. Dr. Woodson is actually known as the "Father of Black History," yet how many of you knew his name? These names shouldn't be languishing in obscurity. They fought hard and made great strides for their cause, but only one man is remembered. One man is not a movement. A movement is collective, with many voices, hearts, and ideas. The Civil Rights Movement did not begin with Martin Luther King, Jr. and it did not end with him. So many deserve credit for their part.

So far, we have really only discussed African American rights, but there are and have been so many more struggles for basic human freedoms and rights. People from many different races, creeds, religions, and both sexes have been abused and neglected throughout our history and the history of the world. It is important that we don't forget the abuses these people suffered and still suffer. We should not forget the Asian American struggle for equal rights, the women's movement and all of its many facets, the mistreatment of Muslims after 9/11, or the hatred directed at LGBT communities.

Keeping With The Times
I am by no means saying that the struggle for equal rights is over for the African American population, but there are now other equality issues that are more relevant to the times and need to be addressed immediately. Like what? How about LGBT rights? Reproductive rights for women? Disability rights? Health care rights?
I love this angry cat...
What I am saying is, society is fluid and so are our problems and needs. To name a holiday after one man who was part of one (albeit very important) movement seems to limit the meaning of the holiday. Civil rights is so much bigger than one man, one cause, and one nation.

No one deserves to be isolated, spurned, violated, or told they are less than just because they are different. Different colors, different beliefs, and different ideas make us as a species grow, learn and thrive. I believe this day is meant to celebrate equality of all people, from every race, creed and sex, and memorialize all the struggles past and all that are yet to come.
Apparently sometime between kindergarten and adulthood,
some of us lose sight of the Golden Rule.


Charleen said...

I've never considered it before, but this makes a lot of sense.

Valerie said...

You are totally right. There needs to be a holiday about equality for all!!


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