50 years ago you were assassinated; you were 39. You were a father. You were a husband. You were a Muslim. You were a black man speaking your truth at a time when your right to do so was not protected. Like Dr. King, you were a Human Rights Activist that was able to move beyond the teaching of hate that you learned early in life. Like Dr. King, you fought for the people. You used truth to combat the hypocrisy and lies. Your intelligence was unmatched, your logic was indisputable, your willingness to sacrifice it all for what you believed in was the definition of courage….
…and sure, they will always refer to you as Malcolm X, the radical racists militant black leader… but I will always celebrate and remember you as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, the humanitarian who returned from his trip to Mecca with clarity and an understanding that contrary to what we have been taught in America, that before we are black, we are human… and the rights we seek are not Civil Rights but Human rights and they are God given…
…and sure, they will continue to parade pictures of you standing at a window with an assault rifle with the quote “By Any Means Necessary” at the bottom; because it feeds into the idea that a Black Muslim is inherently violent, and violence can be used for fear which can be used for control which can be used to keep our system of oppression and inhumanity intact… but what was the context of the quote? Why don’t they ever talk about the difference between saying you will defend yourself rather than turning the other cheek when violence is committed against you? Why don’t they ask, how many acts of violence did you commit or where was your gun when you were assassinated? Surely, a violent Muslim who knew he would be murdered would have been packing heat?
…ah, but that picture of peace in the face of violence is too Dr. King-ish, and doesn’t fit the narrative of fear that they promote to squash the movement… and by acknowledging that you weren’t a violent racists radical, but rather a humanitarian fighting not for Civil Rights but for Human rights, that would have added too much power to the movement.
…imagine, oppressed human beings all over the world rallying with El-Hajj Malik-El Shabazz, the non-violent Human rights activists who looks at the Muslim brothers and sisters, and the Christian brothers and sisters, and everyone else who has a desire to fight for human rights as his brothers…
…but I remember you brother El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz… as the beautiful being you were, you are, and you will continue to be… I admire your courage and your struggle and your fight… and I understand that you live in me. “You Can Not Assassinate a Spirit, You Can Only Kill a Man.” ~ Sean King
Today we Celebrate You!
We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary. —Malcolm X, 1965
…this morning a man I had never seen before started talking to me on my way out of the store… The man had slurred speech, dirty clothes, a patch over his eye, and a cigarette in his mouth… When I heard him start talking to me, I stopped, made eye contact, and gave him my full attention. The man then proceeded to tell me about how he had been shot and stabbed before taking off his eye patch and lifting his shirt to show me his wounds.
… after taking only two minutes of my time, it was clear that he wasn’t asking for my sympathy or a handout; he simply wanted to be seen, to be acknowledged as a human being without being looked down at, to exist in my world.
,,,I share this simply as a reminder that sometimes what people need the most is to be seen, heard, and to be viewed as human beings instead of monsters. Sometimes people need to feel visible in the eyes of others instead of like a problem being swept under the rug or ignored.
…to that man: I let him know that I see him, acknowledge his humanity, and wish kindness on him. He didn’t ask me to feel sorry for him, and I don’t. He didn’t ask me for a handout, and none was given… hopefully what I did give was enough.
…To all my folks posting the hashtag #AllLivesMatter; I only have one question for you. Do you feel this way about people that haven’t been killed? ~ Sean King
I pray for all the families; for all the men, women, and children all over the world that are or will find themselves struggling to cope with the loss of loved ones.
I pray for the well being of all the people who find themselves barely hanging on and lost in our complex world of contradictions.
I pray that all of the children being taught violence as a solution to problems will someday find love and prove to be better than us, their teachers.
I pray that someday the American passion for life that gets displayed every time a tragedy strikes one of our communities becomes a permanent fixture in our hearts, and that this American humanity expands to include compassion for non-Christians and non-Americans all over the world.
I pray that one day, my Christian brothers and sisters will quit murdering in the name of Allah, my Muslim brothers and sisters will quit murdering in the name of God, and our American politicians will quit sending our American kids to war under the false pretense of democracy and justice.
I pray for you, in hopes that you when hit that wall and begin to believe you can’t go any further, that when you reach that point where you can’t see any hope, that when you find yourself in that space where darkness is the only thing that surrounds you, I pray that you will find the courage and perseverance to take one more step forward.
I pray for us, in hopes that someday we will truly treat one another as our brothers and sisters the way El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) did when he returned from his Hajj, the way Martin Luther King, Jr. did when he embraced humanity, the way Mother Theresa did as she worked tirelessly to make the world better, and the way so many do as they heroically go on with the business of doing for others without any fanfare.