Dear Dr. King,
Happy Birthday, Sir. It’s that time of year again when Americans spend time celebrating your enduring legacy. What a legacy it is! Thank you for your efforts, your determination, your confidence, and your focus. I promise you that I will not spend this time on some luxurious weekend skiing or sunning. I will spend this time paying proper tribute to all that you sacrificed to help make my current family an honest reality.
You know what, Dr. King? I don’t just think about you for a couple of days or weeks in January. I try to do some level of this good work 365, 24/7. I remain committed to fighting this fight and hope that the people in my family’s life will join this if they have not already done so. But, I can only speak of my efforts. Here’s what I promise, Dr. King. I will not stand quietly. You did not do what you did for people to be bystanders. Ignorance and bigotry will not reign supreme in my presence.
To those who feel they need to question my choice of spouse and the racial makeup of my daughter, I will not stand quietly.
To those who hide behind the First Amendment, religion, liberalism or conservatism so that they can say hurtful things, and to those who blindly and ignorantly defend those people without thinking of the often life threatening consequences of those statements, I will not stand quietly.
To those who try to excuse racism or sexism or any of the other “-isms” for some reason without trying to understand why someone had his or her feelings hurt, I will not stand quietly.
I owe you and the people who came before me this vigilant approach. After all, you once said that, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” No truer words ever spoken.
Once again, I thank you, Dr. King.
A version of this first appeared on The Brown Gothamite.