This Monday, January 15th, the SPECS Movement will host a special event from 7pm to 8pm on the steps of Keller Town Hall to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. All are invited to come, enjoy hot chocolate, hear from city leaders, watch a live recital of Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” participate in a candle-lighting and song, and stand in solidarity with others in the cause of “liberty and justice for all.”
That’s the “what, when, and where.” Everyone must provide their own “why” for attending. Here are some of our “whys.”
We will be there to honor the life and legacy of one of our nation’s greatest heroes.
We will be there to support our pastor, Trey Grant, the founder of the SPECS Movement and a tireless worker for healing and reconciliation.
We will be there to thank the Mayor and Chief of Police for supporting and participating in this public display of unity and diversity.
We will be there to meet new friends who also value history, dialogue, and progress.
We will be there for the hot chocolate (our seven-year-old contributed that to the list).
We will be there to do our small part in making Keller and the greater D/FW area a more just, more united, more equitable, and more hopeful place to live, to work, and to study.
Perhaps most importantly, we will be there to hear the words that Dr. King wrote spoken aloud, because as white Christians, the words were directed to us.
Writing correspondence while sitting in a jail cell on frivolous charges, much as the Apostle Paul did millennia earlier, Dr. King addressed religious leaders who criticized the “wisdom” and “timing” of nonviolent, peaceful demonstrations spotlighting and opposing the injustices of segregation and state-supported racial violence. He chided them, “Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, ‘Wait.’”
As ones who have never felt such darts—or the related darts of racial bias, or of micro-aggressions—we need to hear these words spoken to us. Our children need to hear them spoken to them. Because without these words being spoken and heard, and spoken and heard again, history is forgotten. Resolve is weakened. And the future is more susceptible to even worse ignorance, injustice, and violence.
We will be there to hear words directed at people like us, words like “laxity,” “silence,” and “arch-defender of the status quo” strung together. We will be there to listen, because as much as we want to believe we would never be “those white people” in 1963, if we do not listen to these words and receive, we may be those people, in some way, in the future.
We will be there. Will you? If so, tell us why.
Dr. Vanessa and Noel Bouché