Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2022
I came to the US in 1984, first traveling with a music group (yes, I used to sing) and then living in Bluefield, West Virginia for 10 months. I went to Pasadena in 1985 and worked on my masters in community development. During that time I had the opportunity to work in Watts at a church and engage in community life there and also meet John Perkins and his family in Pasadena. This started me on the journey to understand the racial tensions that plague the US. As a foreigner who came from Germany where we do not have the same race issues with Black people (we had our own race issues though), I saw the injustices more clearly. I could tell you story upon story of where I have seen injustices based on the color of a person's skin. (even to this day). While in Watts, many of my friends were concerned about my safety, and yet I felt more safe there than in my own Pasadena neighborhood, because there were always watchful eyes keeping track of this young German fool.
I went on my first Martin Luther King Jr walk in South Los Angeles in 1985 and learned so much about the deep joy and the deep sorry of people who have lived through so much trauma. I learned over the years about the pain they have experienced, I learned about the injustices and their dreams to see something better.
I am still on the journey, don't claim to know much, and still get confused about many things, but I want to learn, want to grow, want to continue to go on walks in solidarity with people whose voices don't always matter,
and whose pain runs deep.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." MLK Jr.