POZ blogger Lora René Tucker is a social worker, a poet and an African-American woman living with HIV. In this edited excerpt from her blog post “What Would King Do?” she pays tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and wonders what role he’d play if he were alive. A quote at a writer’s workshop inspired her to write a commemorative poem.
I find myself deeply shaken by how people are treating each other. It is as if people are forgetting how to be an open community, closing ranks via a checklist titled “Like or Not Like Me” and not effectively engaging and communicating with each other. Isn’t that crazy? In an era where there are more devices for keeping in touch, no one is really touching each other, let alone looking up.
In my shaken state, I started to wonder what would Martin Luther King Jr. do if he were around in the 21st century, in the age of AIDS, the Tea Party and so-called “post-racism”? What would he do with a country suffering from historical amnesia?
What would he say about an African American in the White House and African Americans becoming infected with hiv? How would he handle the new horrors of terrorism in neighborhoods from Newark, New Jersey, to Newtown, Connecticut? Could King be one of our senior leaders? I believe he would be constantly reminding us to wake up, don’t fall asleep and don’t forget.
I want to share part of a poem that I wrote in commemoration of MLK. Remember, I do not capitalize hiv/aids.