Today I went to Belmont Against Racism’s 18th annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast and heard broadcast journalist Callie Crossley speak.
As a high school student, Crossley participated in the marches of the striking Memphis garbage workers, whom MLK Jr had come to support at the time of his death in 1968.
King was already turning his attention to the challenges of poverty and unequal opportunity that we have been hearing so much about since the recession. Crossley exhorted the large audience to be active, not just nostalgic, speaking specifically to folks who feel they are not leaders or who just feel weary of struggle.
She said, “Leadership comes when no will say and no one is doing.” And she quoted a line from Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund, who visited Boston a while back: “You have no right to be tired when there is still work to be done.”
Later Crossley answered questions, advising one student on getting involved to defeat new measures likely to undercut voting rights.
In response to a question about how she got into journalism, she told a funny story about writing a newspaper at age 8 (like Axel), with all the articles about herself. She laughed that she couldn’t understand why her neighbors didn’t want to pay for it and said that was how she learned that news stories are supposed to be about other people.
Music provided by poet and performer Regie Gibson as well as by Berklee College of Music student Angelina Mbulo was great.
I sat with an Ethiopian family. From time to time we were riveted by the sign language interpreters at a nearby table. It is so like watching theater or dance. Beautiful.
There were activities nationwide today, including service projects like one at Kids4Peace.
Meanwhile in Bellingham, Washington, where Erik’s Aunt Anna reads Suzanne’s Mom’s Blog, the Kulshan chorus was on deck once more to help residents celebrate.