It was early morning January 17, 1994 when California’s Northridge earthquake struck, killing more than 60, and injuring more than 9,000. Damage was widespread.
After the shock of it all, I remember thinking that since it happened on the Martin Luther King holiday; Dr. King was stirring in his grave for still the injustices and the inequalities that he spoke of in his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.
When we look around today and see all the senseless gun violence, the deception, lying, cheating and disrespect that are so blatant and rampant; we can still find relevance in the urgency of his speech. Remember, Dr. King was first and foremost a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, he had a dream, but he also prayed and took action.
The earthquake, which happened during the wee hours of the morning, shook me out of my bed. It also shook me up enough to really begin focusing on things that really matter. I felt a new sense of urgency.
In August 1963, standing there in Washington D.C., Dr. King said in his speech: “We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.”
Where’s the urgency America for all the senseless gun violence like the recent mass killing in Thousand Oaks, California where 13 people lost their lives; or the little second grader Jazmine Barnes in Texas?
Have we become so desensitized; has it become so normalized now, that there’s no outcry? Oh yes, we get all worked up as the lights are on and the TV is giving us the breaking news, but when the lights go off, and it becomes old news we revert to business as usual.
That’s not what Dr. King was about. He worked tirelessly in front of the cameras, but more importantly behind the scenes to make positive changes.
In his speech, he also said, “This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.” We as a country need to take action now!!
Just as the earthquake shook me into action, what’s it going to take for us to collectively work to stem the tide of violence that took an average of one life each day in 2018? May we seek God and pray that 2019 will bring a reduction in that grim statistic!
“My soul thirsts; my body longs for change.”
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand,” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon) Contact: Lbuford8101@hotmail.com