“Here am I: ready, willing, and prepared. Send me.” This was the rally cry of thousands on Monday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Marade in downtown Denver.
I had the opportunity to be under the flag of the Centennial Institute and CCU as we packed our sack lunches, donned that 1776 spirit of unity, and hopped on the bus headed to East High School to march in the 30th annual Marade with the American Conservatives of Color. It was a crisp January morning in honor of the life and work of the great Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The importance of the occasion and high spirits cannot be overstated in light of recent events. One would have to live under a rock to not see and sense the racial tensions in our nation right now.
Although events preceded August 9th, 2014, the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri seemed to draw a visible line in the sand between “us” and “them”. It should have done no such thing, though. Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t believe deep down that people want to hold hatred or resentment toward others or be in conflict with them.
That’s why the Marade was so crucial and exciting to be a part of. One could witness firsthand all ages, races, belief systems, and political leanings walking side by side, cheering together for a common appreciation for the life of MLK and the civil rights for which he advocated. Just as Dr. King answered the call on his life to go against the tide, just as Isaiah in the Bible answered God’s request for “Who shall I send?” with a bold “Send me”, so too we must be willing and ready to grab hold of the baton passed to us. The message of freedom and foundational principles that MLK and many other warriors of civil rights upheld must continue.
The old adage surfaces immediately when I write so theoretically: “Actions speak louder than words”.
Are we only going to read, write, or speak the words? Or will we plug into a local group, become active members of our community, and boldly claim, “I’m ready, willing, and prepared. Send me.”?
The crux of the matter is this: we are strongest as a people when we’re unified. Let’s unite in our diversity; let’s appreciate people for their differences, learn from their stories, and grow in the relationships we build. We’re all unique, yet we’re all human; this Marade connected people on that basic truth. I sincerely hope people felt a tug on their hearts to spread that message of love and cohesiveness.
I firmly believe our best days in America are still ahead. Let us grab hold of that baton for faith, family, freedom. And let us never forget the amazing man who has helped to fashion the country we live in; our sincerest appreciation and regards to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., forever champion in the movement for civil rights.
the tall girl