The MNA office is closed today to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Being of a certain age, I don’t remember a lot about the civil rights movement as it was taking place. I do remember the day King was killed and I remember as a young child being horrified that anyone would have dogs set on them.
When Obama became president, I was mystified to hear all of the CNN and FOX interviews with black people saying, “Now we can do anything.” I know many black people who are highly successful in their professions and I thought, “Did you not think you could do that before?” But the truth is – I don’t think a lot of people did think they could do anything because of their color or race. And that is sad and terrifying.
It’ easy for me, a white woman raised in a small Midwestern town in a comfortable environment, to shake my head at everything Americans the same as me had to go through to get the same rights I have. I wish it could have been different. But looking back should only give us strength to say, “This is not a culture we will ever return to. For anyone.”
I hope the people of all nationalities that it’s been my privilege to meet will continue to thrive and grow in their careers. I hope others will walk through the door of opportunity to become whatever they want that is there for all of us. The door still continues to close too often in America for any number of reasons. We should swing it open, kick in a door stop and put out the welcome mat.