In the words of James Taylor, “let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King.” Growing up I would listen to his song “Shed a Little Light” on this day every year. (I even brought in my dad’s cassette tape to play the song for show-and-tell in my Kindergarten class. Yup, I was that cool.) As a child I was struck by the lyrics, even if I didn’t grasp the full meaning at the time. To me, Martin Luther King Day represented a time for coming together to recognize and embrace the differences between us.
As I grew older, I have to admit that the message of the day began to grow dim. Instead of using the day to recognize diversity I started to be more thankful for the extra hours of sleep I could catch up on, or the excuse to not go to work.
However, while waiting for Modern Family to air on Wednesday night I ended up seeing President Obama’s speech at the memorial service for the shooting victims in Tucson, Arizona. One passage from the speech in particular stood out to me:
“As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let’s use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together.”
I can’t say whether or not the President is a fan of James Taylor’s work, but I do think that now is a great time for us to come together and embrace the connections between us.