mlk.jpgChange does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

My son was mad when he found out he had piano lessons on Martin Luther King day.

“We’re supposed to not do anything,” he said with a tinge of disgust in his voice when I broke the news that he was going to have to endure a half hour of piano lessons today.

It made me wonder where he got the notion that Martin Luther King day was a day when you weren’t supposed to do anything.

Clearly, the schools thought so, according to him. No school = Do nothing. Well, other than Wii.

I told he and his sister to Google civil rights so they could figure out what the day was really all about.

Wikipedia obliged:

Civil and political rights are a class of rights and freedoms that protect individuals from unwarranted government action and ensure one’s ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.

My 10-year-old daughter sort of got what this meant, but my 7-year-old son was scratching his head a bit.

I spent about a half hour giving them a lecture about civil rights and how some individuals, women, blacks, the disabled, etc. aren’t always treated fairly.

In the middle of it my daughter sat back and said, “this sounds like homework.”

She was right, it did sound like homework, or should I say work.

No one wants to hear that it’s going to take a lot of work to level the playing field for everyone. Martin Luther King put in a lot of extra hours when it came to civil rights. That work made a difference; and it also cost him his life.

Sometimes I think we need an MLK for the workplace.

* Women still don’t make equal pay for equal work.
* Bias against workers based on race, religion and disabilities is still at record levels.
* The unemployment rate among minorities, most notably blacks, is way above that of white workers.
* And don’t get me started on how the average working stiff saw their paychecks shrink during the last few decades while the upper tier of managers saw record pay and bonuses.

I know, we all deserve a day off to do nothing but things don’t change unless we do bend our backs. Right?


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