Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy MLK Day!!!

I just got back from a MLK Day breakfast in Lynn, MA and was reminded of how great our country can be. Three high school students read essays on how Dr. King's life and legacy has affected them. As I listened to the words of teenagers a couple of years younger than me one theme rang through loud and clear. Every single teenager was filled with an undeniable sense of hope. As they spoke about MLK and Barack Obama the faith they had in our nation was evident. They spoke of America as a place of endless possibilities, as a "promised land", as a country of freedom, equality, diversity,  justice, and opportunity. 

Despite where you may stand politically, nobody can deny that President Obama has inspired hope, not only in the hearts of the African American, Guatemalan, and Dominican teenagers I heard speak today, but millions of young people all across this country who for the first time believe they can achieve their wildest dreams. "Yes We Can" has become more than a political campaign -- it's the chant and creed of the next generation of Americans who have the odds exponentially stacked against them. 

Tomorrow will be the beginning of a long road towards a better America. I'm filled with hope not only because of Barack Obama but because the indifferent and apathetic group of African American teenagers lead by Lil' Wayne and Allen Iverson won't be the group building the America of tomorrow. That group has been transformed in one election into a collection of diverse young people chanting a message of faith and holding a message of hope in their hearts. The "Yes We Can" generation will build a better America and I'm quite happy about that and so should you. 

I sat at a Martin Luther King breakfast, celebrating our country's achievement in the area of racial equality and justice, and the part that made it great is that I sat there with one of my best friends in the world -- Leslie Paul, a white female. This is not an African American achievement alone. It's an achievement of the true American dream. If you don't have something to celebrate this MLK day, then I'm afraid you've missed it! I'm celebrating the fact that not so long ago, me and Leslie wouldn't have been friends... or at least not so easily. I'm celebrating friendship, diversity, unity, and love... in the name of the One who created them. 

This isn't the end... it's just the beginning! 
Are you ready?
Happy MLK Day!
Congrats President Obama... couldn't make it to the inauguration, but I'll stop by the White House later this week for lunch... with Leslie


n00bie51 said...

It's wonderful how this message speaks out to people of all races, not just for the black-Americans who suffered unjustly. It applies to all of those who are people of this country, whites, Asians, blacks, Latinos, native Americans, pacific islanders...

I'm blessed from Mr. King's legacy I don't know how to convey what I want to say through this text. I'm a Korean who has lived in the United States for most of his life and this message still gives a strong conviction to this day, even to me. Although I haven't been shot or threatened with bomb threats, I've had my share of racial slurs and insensitive slander thrown my way because of the fact my eyes are slanted. It has significant influence over the way I think. I know what it feels like to be a minority and face prejudice, and King's eloquent illustrations of peace, justice, and love is something I'll always remember.

I still think there is much work to be done; racism is clearly evident and alive, even in our country today. Yes, blacks are not denied their rights politically and socially any more, but an even more daunting task is left for those who believe in King's message, and that is to still overcome the racism that just cannot be eliminated. As you celebrate today in his honor, remember there is still much to be done.

God bless you.

boutry said...

manny, i posted a link to this on my blog. hope that's ok. good words dude.

Manny said...

No problem steve...I found out you're the camp director this summer. Looks likes we'll have another fun-filled summer together with Kenneth, Justin, JC and the gang...

Manny said...

thanks nOObie51 for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate that a lot. how do I know you? Your blogger profile picture isn't giving me any clues... I've been trying to figure out who you are forever! LOL.


n00bie51 said...

Oh, you don't know me.

I was fortunate enough to be perusing through Dan Lee's blog (aka Doulos) and he posted a link to your hilariously awesome "Can I Get Some Altar Call Music?" video.

(Dan and I go to the same church.)

After watching said awesomeness, I checked out the rest of your blog. I enjoy the content you post, whether I end up convulsing in kidney damaging laughter or in thought-provoking conviction.

This is the thing, Manny, you need to keep posting on this blog. You do that, and I will continue to read it. Sounds fair, doesn't it?

Manny said...

That sounds pretty fair. Thanks a lot. I will definitely keep posting, I'm happy that I can bring both laughter and some thought provoking-ness...

gpaul212 said...

This blog brought tears come to my eyes.

It is so refreshing to understand your point of view on MLK Day, the Obama inauguration, and your hope for the future of America. Let me say...........not only are "the youth of today" full of hope for the future of our country, us "old folks" are very hopeful too!

Thank you for sharing.