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FunTimes Magazine

Chaos or Community?

Jan 13, 2023 04:00PM ● By Karen Warrington

Everybody rise and sing in unison, the Black National Anthem in honor of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  And, then America, go back to doing “what we do!” Obviously, what we do is not working for us or the nation and certainly it is not in keeping with Dr. King’s life, sacrifice and dream.

So, the question is what are we doing both as a nation and individually to honor and support the wish Dr. King had for equality and racial justice in the US? If Dr. King was among us today, how would we respond to the question he posed in the title of his fourth and last book before his assassination in 1968, “Where Do We  Go From Here, Chaos or Community?”

How would we explain to Dr. King the violence of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol?  If he could view the daily tally of young Black men shooting one another in our neighborhoods, what would be our response? How would we explain the re-framing of the true history of slavery and the violence directed at the LGBTQ community?

In Chaos or Community Dr. King gives us direction. “In the days ahead, we must not consider it unpatriotic to raise certain basic questions about our national character.”

He also focused on the education and miseducation of American young people.

“I have wept for my children and all Black children who have been denied a knowledge of their heritage; I have wept for all White children, who through daily miseducation, are taught that the Negro is an irrelevant entity in American society: I wept for all the White parents and teachers who are forced to overlook the fact that the wealth of cultural and technological progress in America is a result of the commonwealth of inpouring contributions.”   

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Dr. King also warned us.

“We can no longer afford to worship the God of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals.”

Of course, Dr. King is respected as a world leader, a man of great faith and a visionary messenger, but we have many messengers. So, in keeping with the question Dr. King posed to us let’s focus on the questions raised by another messenger, iconic artist and singer, Marvin Gaye in his plaintive song “What’s Going On?”

“Mother, mother

There’s too many of you crying

Brother, brother, brother there’s far too many of you dying

You know we’ve got to find a way to bring some lovin’ here today

Father father

We don’t need to escalate

You see, war is not the answer

For only love can conquer hate

You know we’ve got to find a way to bring some lovin’ here today”

Dr. King’s birthday has to be more than a day off from work or cleaning a vacant lot. His birthday and the blood he shed on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee demands that we cannot afford be just observers of the struggle to ensure that America is re-framed to stand for the principles of justice and equality in deed rather than in empty words etched on a weathered document.

Happy Birthday Dr. King! Hopefully we will choose community rather than chaos.

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 Karen Warrington has had a decades long career as a broadcast journalist, communications professional, performing artist, and documentary filmmaker. She has traveled extensively throughout Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. She is committed to being a voice for the African Diaspora.

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