Monday, January 19, 2009

"I've Been to the Mountaintop"

In two days, I will have officially completed all my work for college. In one day, we as a nation will officially inaugurate our first African-American president. Today, we celebrate the life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On April 4th of last year, the 40th anniversary of King's passing, I shared my thoughts on the man and the true and full meaning of his dream. And approximately one year ago, I shared a mix I made, merging Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech with the instrumentals to Common's soulful BE album. This year, I mainly wanted to share with you the poster (above) I worked on to commemorate this day (just havin' some fun with Adobe Illustrator). As you can tell, I applied the same style that Shepard Fairey employed for his now-infamous Obama street art. I did it in light of the strongly perceived similarities between the two men. Granted, the King-Obama connection is often overblown, but similarities remain nonetheless. At the moment, you can purchase a poster-size copy of this image through DeviantArt (contact me for more info).

I believe that if Dr. King right now, he would be pleased at the landmark we've reached in America: elected the first African-American president. But he would also continue to stress a philosophy opposing materialism, imperialism and violence. Tomorrow, the country will be filled with hope and joy, a sense of change and all that good stuff. But then what? Dr. King would ask us to roll our sleeves up and "be the change", as Gandhi put it, "that you want to see in the world". So with that being said, this is perhaps the most important time in which we've observed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We're looking back at King's dream, only to look forward in an attempt to fulfill it. Because January 20th, the day of Barack Obama's inauguration, will be a great moment, an important moment in history. But January 21st, will be an even greater day: the day we took the "change we can believe in" into our own hands.

As I mentioned on Saturday, Barack Obama recently introduced the launch of and Organizing for America. The campaign is a "calling on us to make an enduring commitment to our neighborhoods." Feel free to sign up!