"If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." Martin Luther King Jr.
I grew up one generation from dealing with the direct consequences of racism. My father, a Mexican American who grew up in the 50's and 60's experienced it. And his mother's generation much more before.
My grandmother did everything she could to protect her children from racism. So much that she went the assimilation route. She tried to give them every opportunity the white kids had and pushed her kids to do whatever they could to fit in.
Because of this, I believed they missed out on learning the value of embracing their culture. Everything from the language to the traditions, to even the food. Though my grandmother's first language was Spanish, her children adopted English as theirs.
Because of racism and my grandmother believing she had to assimilate her children to protect them, my generation missed out on so many wonderful things that come with passing down culture from one generation to the next.
I remember how this affected me as a child and especially in my college years. I wanted to know who I was and where I came from. So much that I took on Spanish as my minor and enlisted in multiple Mexican-American history and cultural courses. I believed by learning about language, history and culture I could find some of these answers.
Though I never became fluent in Spanish, my journey led me to not just knowledge of my culture, but understanding the difficulties and atrocities all minorities went through, especially African-Americans.
Racism sucks. It's still directly and indirectly affecting people today. Martin Luther King new the answer. He spoke of love, understanding, lifting each other up and walking side by side.
As Dr. King said in his speech to a group of college students at Spelman College in 1960, “Keep moving, for it may well be that the greatest song has not yet been sung, the greatest book has not been written, the highest mountain has not been climbed. This is your challenge! Reach out and grab it… but there is something we can learn from the broken grammar of that mother, that we must keep moving. If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving.”
Keep it moving forward. Keep spreading the message of love and grab someone's hand whose not strong enough to do it on their own.