Looking for Martin: Are Dr. King and His ‘Dream’ Still Relevant?

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Every year in America and across the planet we celebrate the birthday, the life, the legacy, the work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Every year we hear, more times than not, the same use of the word “dream,” the same commentary about who he was or who we think he was, or who we are told he was; we also often hear the same few Dr. King speech snippets, the same mythologizing of Dr. King, the same attempts to make him into a saint, a superhero, a god, into someone not very whole or human or accessible to the rest of us. For that reason we at BK Nation decided to put together a special collection of blogs plus one powerful video that approach Dr. King from many different angles, angles not often discussed in public or the mainstream media, angles that will bring you joy and a smile, make you mad or uncomfortable, and, most importantly, make you feel and think about Dr. King and things like freedom, democracy, justice, and equality in new, exciting, and very profound ways. Ways we hope will lead you to not just think, but to do, for yourself, for your communities, because changing the world, as Dr. King taught, is truly in your hands.

Yes, we have very provocative ideas here about race and racism, since that was the crux of Dr. King’s work with the Civil Rights Movement that transformed America. But we also bring together diverse and unique voices that confront sexism, and classism and poverty, and diversity or the lack thereof, and homophobia, and something called “ableism.” In other words there are bloggers here from the U.S. to as far as Wales and Japan, bloggers who are Black, and White, and Latino, and Asian, and Native American, male and female, as young as 12 and as old as 60something or 70something, and straight, and gay, and transgendered, and disabled (a community often ignored completely in any discussions about Dr. King), and of many different spiritual or religious faiths, or no religious beliefs at all. We have done this because we believe that not only must we celebrate that we are one human race but we must also celebrate who each of us are individually. It is not an either or, it is both. Because if we do not know what we are bringing to the table of the human family, our own special identity, culture, heritage, then we truly do not understand the words of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech where, near the end, he talks about different groups of people coming together. Because Dr. King himself was very much a Black man, an African American, a Christian minister, a leader, a peace and anti-war activist, a visionary, but he also saw the humanity and dignity in each and every single one of us. Moreover Dr. King was real and human with many shortcomings and contradictions, just like the rest of us. He smoked cigarettes at times to deal with the tremendous stress of his work, which was endless, He was married but had extramarital affairs. It was found that he plagiarized parts of his PhD. This is not to disrespect nor denigrate who Dr. King was. Not in the slightest. It is to say loudly, very clearly, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a very human, human being who was placed on this earth to do extraordinary things. Who was placed on this earth to help change America, and the world. And he did. But in 2014, in this 21st century, we must ask a question we believe Dr. King himself would have asked, since he was always seeking, always questioning, always changing, right to the very end: Is his “dream” still even relevant to you, to me, to us? So we invite you to read on, to watch the video, to use this package of blogs plus one video as a learning tool, a conversation piece. We invite you to share with others the words of these very brilliant people who’ve come together, like a mighty gospel choir, to sing a song that looks for the Martin Luther King, Jr, the leader, the visionary, the doer, the humanitarian, in all of us.—KEVIN POWELL, president & cofounder of BK Nation

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You Don’t Need to HAVE Something to START Something
By Olivia Russo-Hood

The Troubled Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Dr. Mark Naison


By Dr. Jerry Ward

The Day Dr. King Was Killed
By Loretta Agro



People, Systems, and the Game of Monopoly
By Allan Johnson

Martin Luther King’s Dream Includes Transgender People
By André St. Clair

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?
By Therí Pickens, PhD

Twerk for Freedom?
By jessica Care moore

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Words in Celebration of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
By Martin Daws

To Romanticize, or to Radicalize, That Is a Problem: Teaching King in a Japanese University
By Fumiko Sakashita

SNL Latino Problem
By Cesar Vargas

A Conversation on Manhood Between an Uncle and a Nephew
By David Young

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A Shared Dilemma
By Mia Legg

Shout-out to the Haters Caucus at Harvard, and Dr. Martin Luther King
By Melanie Pascual Atendido

Stop and Frisk: A Night in the BK
By Elayne Fluker


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To Plead Our Own Cause
By Steven Renderos

MLK and LGBTQ: A “Dream” Deferred?
By Mark Zustovich

Disability Justice and Social Justice: Entwined Histories and Futures
By Alice Wong

Wales and Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Lleucu Siencyn


The Art of Disciplining Children Who Are Not Yours
By Randy R. Miller Sr.

Coming Together to Fulfill MLK’s Legacy
By Antonio Tijerino

Diary of a Young Woman Who Was a Victim of Prejudice
By Michelle Bowen


To Read and Write Is To Fight for What is Right
By Carla Cherry

Where Do I Begin?
By Mark Albrecht

Remembering MLK
By DJ Kuttin Kandi

Dreams within Realities
By Love Dixon


Have We Placed a Choke Hold on Dr. King’s Dream?
By Natasha J. Benjamin

Justice On Stolen Land: MLK Recognized 50 Years Ago. What Today’s Civil Rights “Leaders” Still Cannot See
By Gyasi Ross

But We Have a BLACK President!
By Ann Smith

A Letter to the Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Melanie Pascual Atendido

Let’s Keep Our Eyes Open

By Libby Rego