The post office is closed

Today’s a special day here in the US; it’s a holiday. Today’s the day we reflect on the value of one man’s integrity to assume the responsibility of being true to himself and mankind -to say nothing of having been brave enough to do it. I think of the day in more pervasive terms; I think we should celebrate and honor the compassion history of all humanitarians -from the local hero or volunteer- to Nobel Peace Prize winners. Our social guardians are our social consciences. Without a social conscience, how could we really be human? Without social guardians, our social priorities would not evolve and I’m a firm believer in that a society should not be measured in by how well it treats it’s best citizens but in how well it treats it’s worst ones.

I’m not working today. The boy’s not in school either -did any of you get the day off? If you’re an entrepreneur, you often don’t. And don’t I know it. Today I didn’t feel like blogging. Most of my files are on my computer at work and if the post office is closed, I usually take the day off too.

Instead, I did some cleaning. I use the term “cleaning” loosely. My attentiveness to household chores is either off or on. I vacillate between “german lady” cleaning and “Why make the bed and do the dishes? Six months later I have to do it all over again” (from an email signature I read). If my hemming solution for pants involves duct tape and staplers, my equivalent cleaning practices won’t be much better.

I do have to do a chore I haven’t even started with. I have to fix the yard to keep one of my cats from getting out. My boy-cat got out on Friday (13th wasn’t so lucky for him) and got taken into cat-custody by the cat-cops. ‘Course I didn’t figure out he’d been cat-arrested until after we toured the cat-cages at the cat-klink a whole day later. He was so freaked out and probably as glad to see us as we were to see him. He’s a pill, that one.

Spend some time today thinking about social guardianship. Read Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream“. You can view an old news story about the speech here.

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  1. christy fisher says:

    So many of today’s youth do not realize how fresh the healing process is on this wound. Thank you for the link to the speech. It will always be very moving to me.
    I am a “white girl” who was born in Jackson, Missisippi (1951)…and most of my relatives were also from that area. I was raised there until I was around 10, then my parents were hip enough to get us out before “all hell broke loose”. It was the early 60s when we moved to central Florida (not much better on many of the issues). I remember “separate” bathrooms for the “colored” and the “whites”. I also remember some adult SCOLDING me because I once drank from the “colored” water fountain (I wanted to see if the water tasted *different*). I was around 10 years old and I knew SOMETHING wasn’t “right” with a LOT of “white folks”.
    I have watched much change..and I have also seen some that still hasn’t..
    I have faith that with each generation, the healing will continue. Love and acceptance is the great equalizer, and Mr. King was certainly one of the bravest men who has walked the earth in my lifetime. Thank you for honoring him.

  2. deerskin says:

    Ditto on the fresh healing that Christy mentions in her comment. and of course there is healing yet to be done.
    When my family moved to the NC in the early 1970’s the schools had been intergrated since about 1964–there were still public businesses that would not serve us–i’m not white–at least not all–got a lot of different bloods/ethnicities. We moved from So Cal where we had known racism but not being denied services. For instance in So Cal, my mother theorized that my brother and i were not put into special excellerated classes because we were not white. Later we got into them–i guess they had to let us since my mother was president of the PTA for a while. And while some women did not like the fact that my mother was in the junior women’s club they, thank god, were in the minority. So in So Cal the racism/prejudice was easier to negotiate. In NC there are still festering pockets where people can get away with stuff–and the new immigrants–the chicken plant and agricultural workers from Mexico, Guatemala, etc–get poor treatment from folks in the white and NDN populations (i don’t know about the Black) and sometimes even there own. Still there are enough good folks to make the South/NC somewhere i like to live. So i’m glad that while MLK Jr. spoke more specifically for Blacks getting along with White, his message and the anti-racism work he did works for everyone and applies in all directions. thanks Kathleen for reminding us.

  3. “For instance in So Cal, my mother theorized that my brother and i were not put into special excellerated classes because we were not white. Later we got into them–i guess they had to let us since my mother was president of the PTA for a while.”

    Deerskin, your story brings back sad memories of my high school experience in Lexington, KY. While the school I went to was heavily “integrated” ( ~50% minority, mostly african-american), I only had but one black friend because she was the ONLY black person in any of my classes. And the only reason she was there was because of the hell her mother raised when she was told she wasn’t ready for college prep classes (she was brilliant).

    The saddest thing was that while it was perfectly obvious that segregation was still occurring, nobody ever talked about it. Here (No Cal), at least people talk about it–there’s still a difference in opportunity for white/asian vs. black/latino, but people talk about it, so I hope that bodes well for our future.

    To a day when everyone gives blank looks when asked about segregation or racism: “what’s that?” they’ll ask, because they have no experience of it. To that day.

  4. Dear Kathleen:
    As one who uses art, fashion, culture and education as tools to cultivate racial and ethnic tolerance in our society, I find your comments on the way things were in Dr. Martin Luther-King’s days not just refreshing, but also inspiring.

    I am so inspired by your experiences and perspectives, that I am now thinking of incorporating multi-racial accounts of experiences with segregation and racism to the theme of my Dr. Martin Luther-King workshops.

    My Dr. Martin Luther-King Jr. workshops are usually developed around his VIRTUES. Today’s exposure makes it incumbent on me to broaden the scope of my workshop theme on this subject.

    I believe that in order to affect change, children must be informed, and adults reminded that Dr. King’s quest was one that was also embraced by decent ‘whites people’; some of whom even in their ‘INNOCENT CHILDHOOD’ sensed that ‘SOMETHING was not right with a lot of white folks’ back then.

    I thank you my sisters and brothers for your candor. Please continue to maintain your integrity in all that you do and the world WILL be a better place…one day at a time, WITH one Kathleen, Christy, Josh, Eric, Deerskin, and JinJer!

    Madona Cole-Lacy

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