As I woke up this morning, getting ready to start the week with my daily routine, I realized that this day would not have been the same without the sacrifice and leadership of one man that I came to know later in my adulthood life.
As a naturalized African American (originally from the Congo Democratic in Central Africa), I realized that this wonderful day (along with many others to come) could not have been possible if a certain group of people stood up for my future, knowing for sure that they might not get a taste of it as they confront unthinkable injustice and ideology rooted in the American society.
As I readied myself for work and kissed my children goodbye and left for my office job, driving freely with no worries other than my daily to-do list filled of tasks involving customer relations around the globe, I took the time to think about this leader who made it possible somehow for me, who consider myself as a successful Black African American Professional , a Free man, to enjoy this lifestyle which came at a greater cost - which I realized that I may not be able to completely grasp that "cost."
Walking in this executive conference room, full of individuals that I call regularly colleagues and business partners, without worrying about the color of my skin, made me cry internally for the souls of those who fought for me to be where I am today.
You see, Martin Luther King Day is not just another U.S. Holiday for me; it's a day I remember the sacrifices made by a group of people who decided that Change was long time overdue in America regarding Blacks Civil Rights. And we're talking about events that took place not too long ago; in the 60's. Unbelievable.
Fast forwarding to this present day, it's so easy to take all these struggles, battles, and victories for granted now, especially within the African American youth. Only if they could take a moment today to research and grasp the price paid for the freedom that they so much brag about in their social behaviors, lifestyle, music, you name it... If they could stand in front of those brave men and women who gave up their lives for a better future for the generations to come, they would understand that there are more to life than Swag, Money, Social status, and material blessings. There is this dimension that they ought to reach, where their voices and actions will move the remaining mountains that they face every day and will reveal their true identity as not only American Citizens, but World leaders.
So today, at least celebrate Martin Luther King Day by trying to learn more about the man behind the name and the movement that handed you a silver platter and gave your life a meaning. Hopefully by the end of your journey, you will realize that you need to pull up your pants a little higher, address your elders with a little more respect, and clean up your mouth, your mind, and your soul from the filth that you call "Freedom of Speech." You see, your freedom was not really free; it came with a price; a price that you may not be able to comprehend, but it's OK. At the very least, it should be respected and honored.
Happy Martin Luther King Day to you and yours.