I visited Atlanta for the first time recently, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about my trip to the King Center! I’ve always admired Dr. King, but I never knew the full extent to which he sacrificed for people of color globally.
This is a person who let nothing stop him. All of the death threats, police violence, terrorist attacks by segregationists and the KKK and he kept on! He pushed his personal impact to the max, took enormous risks and wholly devoted himself to the liberation of people of color. I have profound gratitude, respect and admiration for Dr. King and the thousands who organized and participated in sit ins, freedom rides and rallies.
To Love and Serve Humanity
What struck me most was watching the recording from his funeral. Coretta Scott King played a recording from his last sermon in which he spoke about his own funeral:
If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy tell him not to talk too long…
Tell him not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize–that isn’t important. Tell not to mention that have 300 or 400 other awards–that’s not important. Tell him not to mention where I went to school.
I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love somebody.
I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe the naked. I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.
His words brought me to tears. I could feel the love, commitment and service that Rev. King embodied. His last sermon has compelled me to think about what legacy I want to leave behind, where I can add value, how to use my gifts, etc…
Since then I’ve thought about how I want to be remembered and what I would want someone to say at my funeral, and I realized that I really do long to have a big impact so I’m going to use this working draft as a blueprint for how I want the next 50 years to look.
Sasha was a person who cared deeply. Her presence was life-giving. She lived well, grabbed life by the horns and enjoyed the ride.
She took personal risks to speak and act out against injustice. She was aware of her privilege and used it to lift up people who had less privilege than her. She brought different groups of people together. She championed intersectionality, encouraged marginalized communities to come together to support each other so that together we could dismantle systems of oppression.
She worked for the liberation of people of color globally — and women of color, in particular. She created spaces for them to share their stories, their experiences and their feelings.
She loved the Earth! She inspired other people to reduce their personal and communal impact on the Earth through connecting with our planet personally, minimizing their waste and reducing their impact through plant-based, zero waste meals.
She used her gifts to push the status quo to support liberation of all people – black liberation, queer liberation, Earth liberation… She loved deeply.
What would you want people to say at your funeral? What kind of impact do you want to leave behind?