HEROES & OPPRESSION
A True Hero
JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group
January 18, 2024
This past Monday was a holiday I reflected on many ideas relating to justice and truth. It was, after all, Dr. Martin Luther King Day. I love reading speeches written by Dr. King. And I love listening to him command crowds. He was a man of conviction. And it’s no surprise to me, he was a Capricorn – as is my beloved son. Capricorns are ambitious, loyal, stubborn, hardworking, critical, responsible, and disciplined. They are determined to climb tall mountains – both figuratively and literally – and they usually have big goals that span long-term.
One idea I reflected on is heroism. I didn’t focus on superheroes from comic books or mythical realms. I focused my reflection on heroes in the flesh. Dr. King is a hero of mine. He used his voice loudly and proudly. And even after his unjust murder, his voice carries on. When he was alive, YouTube didn’t exist. I imagine he’d be astonished to know how many people are able to access his recorded speeches anytime of any day from the little box they keep inside their pocket. While Dr. King was alive, he did not have the support he has now. In fact, in the year of his death, he has a 75% disapproval rating. But that didn’t stop him from standing up for what he believed. And while people of his time may have rejected his message, he is more understood by today’s standards. True heroes don’t use their voices for fame, notoriety, or clout. They use their voices to stand up for what they believe in.
Another idea I reflected on is oppression. While we still have a long way to go to make anyone’s voice as listened to as a white male in the U.S., we have taken steps toward equality. As Dr. King was quoted saying, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
While our oppressors demand compliance, complacency, and trust, those exact ideals are dangerous to those being oppressed. Oppressors don’t want to give away their power. They are fully aware of the plight of the oppressed. If true equality is ever attained, it will only be through pushing for the changes to be made. By using our voices loudly and proudly, no matter what. To live in a peaceful world, we must not let it be overrun by malevolent forces. We must further push to end oppression to give our future generations hope.
Last year, I read a book titled, The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs. One of my favorite concepts gathered from this book was the story of Dr. King’s life. Dr King didn’t appear one day as a growth adult ready to fight for the freedom of black Americans in the United States and heralding a captivating voice. Dr. King was a product of his environment. He was raised in a family that taught him the lessons he needed to learn. He was raised in a church-going family. He watched pastors preach. He evolved. He was a son, a husband, and a father. He watched the world around him and reacted accordingly.
Dr. King was a man who earned the title hero.