Sitting in the mother’s kitchen table on January 20, 2020, is one of the highlights of this year. It was the annual and national celebration of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. A holiday that is celebrated every year, with a commemorative service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, in the city of Atlanta, Georgia USA. My city, birthplace, hometown, and space of educational endeavors. At that moment and time, I was in my state, watching this holistic service with my mother.
The moment was special for me, as for the past years I have been overseas. Cairo, Egypt to be exact! It was the first time, in a long time, when I had been back home, during the same time as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. There was something special about this 2020 celebration. A feeling of completion, as if balance was coming into place. That the city of Atlanta was the focal point for harmonious energies of the international community. Something in the atmosphere was different. An unusual sweetness taking place. And, it felt good.
Watching the ceremony, via Fox 5 News, was enchanting. Diverse in music and oratorical performance. And, yet it still remained true to the Soulful rhythms and tunes of Atlanta’s cultural aesthetics. I was ecstatic in hearing the voice of Reverend Dr. Bernice King (CEO of the King Center and living daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King). Dressed in the royalness of blue and its ornaments. The profoundness of her words were staunch and filled with passion for the meaning of now. Time is of the essence, and it is important for the audience (and viewers of domestic and international spacing) to understand that sometimes it is inappropriate-and even too late-to wait. That waiting in a time when things must be done, now, could result in windows of opportunities being closed. Clearly, the window of justice is ticking. Atlanta. . .the very name brings out the very sacredness of the city. The Civil War. Sweet Auburn. The movement towards Civil Rights. Home to the largest Black educational center in the country. The list goes on. And, on January 20, 2020, national and international eyes were centered on Atlanta. A ceremony of not only celebration, but one of checking in. Where does moral consciousness stand, during this given time? Where does individual morale stand at this current time? Currently, what is the state of humanity?
The various messages proclaimed at Ebenezer Baptist Church, on January 20, 2020 were very clear. Humanity is in trouble. Deep trouble. So many issues pertaining to poverty, militarism, classism, racism, gun violence, and countless other issues, continue to plague our world. A world where humans have become insensitive to the plight of others. Their hearts hardened and Spirits cold. This is clearly the message being driven home. There was a different message being performed. Throughout the congregation, people of myriad nationalities, backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, religions, and ideologies could be found. A flower garden had been crafted. Songs, words, and vocalities of the garden had performed. It was an aesthetical wonder. Despite the negatives of the real world, what could be, was actually taking place.
Seeing representation from Morehouse College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, and Morris Brown College was a sight of celebration. I visited my Alma mater of Spelman College on September 30, 2019. Let’s just say you don’t have to wait until the annual Homecoming, in order to go home. A reminder that knowledge, too, requires nourishment. Needs celebration and the courage to celebrate it, further.
For myself, I traveled thousands of miles to be in this moment. Reveling in having touched the soiling of my birthplace, for another time. Catching up with the timing of the city, was another task. It was tedious. Memories of the mind wandering off into different points and spaces. Steps that had been taken. Footprints left behind. Past journeys that linger forward. Of course, there is the blessing of having taken those routes, in the first place.
Watching the 2020 MLK Celebration at Ebenezer Baptist Church, many inquiries came into mind concerning how those in attendance would take the message home for performance in their daily lives. Would the message ring home? Or, would it be an annual ritual that people come for entertainment, and to feel good? Afterall, one cannot deny the holistic vibe of Ebenezer Baptist Church. It is filled with the Spirit of legends, and the atmosphere simply feels good. Quietness. Tranquility. A richness of calm’s dressing. The presence of those who came before, is there.
Sometimes people get so caught up in the excitement of words, that it becomes disconnected from the actions in their birth. So, while the fire of Dr. Bernice King continues to press on in the hearts of dignitaries, community leaders, religious leaders, performers, Congressmen, and others, let us not forget the powerful examples it represented on that day. The presence of the Korean-American children’s choir, and what their musicality symbolized. A sparkling moment of love, as the Rev. Dr. Bernice King introduced, welcomed, and acknowledged, her Sister in the freedom struggle, daughter of the legendary Malcolm X-Ilyasah Shabazz.
The theatric and oratorical performance of Letter From A Birmingham Jail, as different cultures of students conveyed the Negroes’ experience, was illuminating. Let’s not forget the ringing of the bells ceremony by representatives of the different nations, in attendance. Other attributes of the ceremony were taking place. Magic was happening all around. Living proof in the power of speaking things into existence. Speaking our desires, hopes, and prayers, until they become a reality. Just by observing the wonders of the ceremony, one could not help, but to see those spoken desires, at work.
There was something peculiar about this year’s 2020 MLK Commencement at Ebenezer Baptist Church. A shift had taken place. Something is stirring in the atmosphere. You can only recognize that energy, if you are connected to it. The energy is not necessarily one to be feared. Yet, it is one to be acknowledged, for it symbolizes an awakening! Something great is coming, and it is going to shift the vastness of reality’s tide. Undercutting it in a way that many are too contrived to imagine. Its something on which prayers have been sent to the Heavens for centuries. True renditions of melodies raining down from the Heavens.
So, as we reflect upon the 2020 MLK Celebration, and its annual commemoration at Ebenezer Baptist Church, let’s not forget the beauty and magic, that is happening in the. . .now. That power of seeing what we hope for in the near future, actually taking place in the present. At that minute. At every second. That’s the beauty of speaking our realities into existence. Its euphoric!
So, as we continue to reminesce on dreams, remember that dreams can soon become realities. That having a dream, means that eventually it should come true. Vocalizing slumber’s memory into the heavens, and performing the energies of its process in order to bring it into fruition (or find meaning in its Being), is the reason for why we have dreams. Its the very essence of their mystery and mystique. So, as we push for freedom’s ring, let’s remember to celebrate, the present dreams.