I like Tuesdays, because A) you all go crazy for my ‘Teenage Tuesday’ posts, & B) I never know what the world is going to throw at me to react to and write about for ‘World Wednesdays’.
So how could I go past Martin Luther King Jr Day? I’m adding a link to Buzzfeed’s 23 images of him, as they’re incredible, and his quiet, determined gaze speaks a thousand words I can’t possibly scribe.
I think I was about 7 when a new classmate arrived at my junior school in London, with dark shiny skin and afro hair. A few days later, I saw him in the local park near our house, when I was playing on the swings with my younger brother. He had his younger sister with him, and we pretty much ignored each other, until a group of kids from a couple of years above us at school turned up, and began to pick on him because of his colour.
I can still recall the rush of rage and injustice which burned through me; I didn’t even know his name, but this was wrong!
Small and skinny though I was, I marched over to the bigger kids and began to tell them off. My brother tagged behind, and his sister huddled close, so it became Us against Them very quickly.
I guess I seemed fierce, for they mumbled a few more insults and slinked away. We 4 smiled shyly at each other, and went our separate ways; there was no lasting friendship, and I don’t remember what he was called, but Martin Luther King’s ideals of equality and racial harmony had seared into me, across the oceans, years, and social divide.
‘The time is always right to do what is right.’ Martin Luther King Jr
Trump’s asinine comments about ‘shithole countries’ (which he’s now flatly denying) sadly reminds us that standing up to bullies and racists is still essential.
But from the joy of the unified celebration of an extraordinary man, to the sadness of losing an incredible singer today: Dolores O’Riordan from The Cranberries. Such a voice! Such a small, feisty, powerful artist, gone too young at only 46- five years younger than me.
There were so few women in rock and roll, and she sang with such passion, in that gorgeous sexy accent… how many tears did I shed listening to this song when I broke up with various lovers over my angsty twenties/thirties (when I needed a good cry, before I put on Gloria Gaynor’s “I will Survive” and danced triumphant round the room)?
Life just keeps ticking along doesn’t it? Our teenage heroes get sick and die, as we ourselves age inexorably…
Thank you Dr. King for the profound wisdom, inspiration, and social change; thank you Dolores for doing the same for my teenage self ❤
In gratitude always for powerful words and music, G xO