2015-10-07 - 10:35 p.m.
As a long time supporter and financial contributor to the SPLC I received an invite to attend Julian Bond's memorial service which was today in Washington DC.
I didn't go. I thought about it, but honestly felt a bit weird considering going to a memorial for someone I did not personally know. It also felt like a weird position of privilege to be invited because I donated money over the years. I envisioned that perhaps someone who never had such money but rather chose to really bravely work for justice, someone like my acquaintance Jay Marks who recently passed (who used to run the Washington Peace Center), someone really in the trenches of making their life devoted to seeking justice would get the spot that I didn't fill.
The selfish part of me wanted to go for a few reasons. Very non altruistically it occurred to me I might MEET like minded individuals and perhaps some doors of opportunity to actually work in those trenches would open.
There was likely FEAR blocking me from enthusiastically accepting the invite. The subconscious "I couldn't go" "Its not my place to be among the mourners of a man I did not know, and honestly never recalled hearing of until he died"
I reacted likely the SAME way I would have had I lived when MLK died. MLK was NOT apprechiated by at least half our population at the time of his death (if not more). I read a terrific account of how he was seen as lawless , inciting trouble to call attention to the social ills of the time. The parallels to how he was received and the Black Lives Matter movement of today are so very obvious.
It was not fear that stopped me from going, as I did open the e-mail to RSVP one day last week , but alas, once I decided "WHY WOULD I CONSIDER MYSELF NOT WORTHY?"
In any case, I am happy to read of the account of the memorial.
It still seems a bit weird to consider going to a memorial for someone I never knew or heard of, yet I am encouraged that there are enough people that find the work of a person such as Julian Bond important enough to take time out of their day to honor him, EVEN IF They did not know a thing about him prior to his death.
That is in itself a hopeful thing I believe.