As I was waking up this morning I was thinking about Martin Luther King Jr. – it’s his day, after all – and just how timely his words and his messages are right now. I wanted to do something to honor him, and ended up working on a portrait. This is something I have no business doing – portraits are not my thing – and it doesn’t really look like him, but I really enjoyed spending some of my morning poring over his powerful face. It turns out portraits are much harder than they look. Who knew! (Now I do…).
When I was a kid, the teachers at my school would play a record of Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech on this day, and I remember loving to listen to his voice, and how powerful his message was then. But I also remember feeling that this terrible civil rights injustice had been solved. That it was history. Here we are, 40 years later, and his message is more important and more necessary than ever. Racism, and all the systemic injustices that spring from it, have definitely not been solved, and I’m shocked by how far we still have to go. But I do believe that the conversations that have been happening over the past years, and especially over the past 8 months since the killing of George Floyd, are moving us in the right direction. I’m sorry it has taken this long. Tonight Dave and Anabelle and I will listen so some of his speeches, reflect on his messages and wish him a happy 92nd birthday.