Dr. Alveda C. King: Judge by Content of Character, not Skin Color or Hoodies






MLK in Hoodie

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2013

Contact: Leslie Palma
Leslie@priestsforlife.org
(347) 286-7277

While I salute the passion and creativity of artist Nikkolas Smith in reference to the image of MLK wearing a hoodie, I feel compelled to cry “foul, shame on you” to the media moguls and civil rights legends who want to stir up a controversy where there is none. I am not angered by the artistic expression. I am just plain hurt and saddened to see the message of my uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reduced to a debate over an article of clothing. I would love to talk with artist Nikkolas about my uncle.

“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr. “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963

My grandfather was always a meticulously dressed and well groomed man. He encouraged and actually insisted that his family follow his lead, because he was grooming us all to represent Jesus, our family and our community. Uncle M. L. and Daddy grew up to become leaders and did their best to honor and respect their father’s teachings. Like all humans, they sometimes fell short, but not for lack of trying.

I am no way suggesting that hoodies are a bad thing. The young folks in my family wear them. They are actually handy oin the rain. Yet there are other ways to remember Dr. King. Perhaps most importantly that way would be found in his sermons and letters.

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Speech in St. Louis, Missouri, March 22, 1964

As to the controversy, George Zimmerman seemingly never explored the content of Trayvon Martin’s character. Rather he identified and profiled Travon Martin according to Trayvon’s choice of attire which was a hoodie. We as African-Americans should never be racially profiled. We must advocate as Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated; for defining ourselves by the content of our character rather than according to the color of our skin or choice of attire. This should be the standard for every ethnic group, every family and every individual.

Unfortunately, the trial was about finding reasonable doubt in a murder case; as to what happened the night Zimmerman shot Trayvon. Reasonable doubt was established, and thus human justice was served in a human court of law. Yet, was everyone so concerned about serving man’s legal system that we forgot to serve God?

Sadly, the legal aspects of the trial were not about whether or not George Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon Martin. That issue now becomes a matter of civil rather than criminal law. The criminal legal process was not about hoodies and candy. It wasn’t even about smoking marijuana. By the way, two United States Presidents admit to having smoked marijuana as young men, one says he inhaled and one says he didn’t.

This leads me to wonder what kind of man Trayvon Martin would have become if he had been allowed to live.

By observing his parents during the time of his tragic and fatal shooting and this trial, I am sure that Trayvon would have turned out just fine. His parents have called for justice and peace during their suffering and loss throughout this entire ordeal. My prayers continue to go out to them.

In the final analysis, Trayvon Martin represented humanity, life and purpose as ordained by God for all persons, in and out of the womb; and he deserved not to be profiled; but rather regarded as a precious soul.

Trayvon wore a hoodie not because he was black, but because it was his choice of style for teens in this time in our society. His clothing should never have been a factor in defining him.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. was called to greatness, you, I and yes Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman were called to greatness, purpose and the right to live in America. The difference is that MLK lived long enough to answer his call.

Trayvon was killed before he could live out his call and dream, which is buried with him. George Zimmerman made a decision that has changed his life as well.

Every human being is part of the one single human race. We are one blood; One race. We are Created with a dream inside, and when we are allowed to be born and to live out our God ordained lives, we have a chance to be great.

Would Martin Luther King, Jr. as a teenager wear a hoodie in the 21st Century? I may not think so, but who knows. Would Martin Luther King, Jr. weep at the tragic loss of the life and dream of Trayvon Martin, and the now deferred dream of George Zimmerman? Most likely.






5 Responses to “Dr. Alveda C. King: Judge by Content of Character, not Skin Color or Hoodies”

  1. David says:

    Madam,

    I salute you and your stance on the late Dr’s beliefs, I also feel that if Dr King were here today this would be handled quite differently.
    Please do not give into the pressures to change this view, keep the good doctors image untarnished in these trying times and G-d bless.

    David

  2. debi9kids says:

    Beautifully expressed.
    Thank you.

  3. [...] Dr. Alveda King: Judge by Content of Character, not Skin Color or Hoodies – While I salute the passion and creativity of artist Nikkolas Smith in reference to the image of MLK wearing a hoodie, I feel compelled to cry “foul, shame on you” to the media moguls and civil rights legends who want to stir up controversy where there is none. I am hurt and saddened to see the message of my uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reduced to a debate over an article of clothing. My grandfather was always a meticulously dressed and well groomed man. [...]

  4. Lanez says:

    Mrs. King, you are so wrong, this was not about a hoodie, it was not about racial profiling. It was not about racism. This was about a man who was chosen to do a job to protect a neighborhood from young black males who were robbing the fine people of that neighborhood. This was not a child. He was a young man who was troubled. Who loved to fight, smoke pot and handle guns and fight. IF everything would, and it will come out about his past, he was going down the wrong road if he was headed for greatness. To compare this would be thug to The HONORABLE DR.MARTIN LUTHER KING, is a disgrace. I honestly loved that man. And he would not for a minute take up for someone who had the biggest part in his life being lost. Where were his parents? He should have been on “lock Down” at his dads house. No skittles, no Icetea, no cell phone, no girlfriend, and no leisurely Walk in the rain. He should have been grounded and so far up his dads rear end that he couldn’t see, because he got kicked out of school….for pot.. and while not much, he didn’t learn any lessons because he was high the night he died. And while pot does not make you confrontational, it does make you paranoid. Mr. Zimmerman was doing what the police said, he was seeing where he was going. At that time Travon told his girlfriend, he was at his daddys house. But did he walk in to safety? did he hang up and call 911? Did he speak with respect to the Neighborhood watch captain? Did he lower his hoodie and say sir? can I help you? NO he did none of that. The chip against what he profiled as a “white” man, a creepy ass cracker, was too big to fit through the door at the apartment and to safety. He chose to go back and fight. And Mr. Zimmerman, didn’t hit him, didn’t accost him, didn’t hurt him until the time he thought he was going to die at the hands of the self proclaimed, thug. His profile had pictures of him with guns, dope, and shooting birds at the camera. he was not the sweet innocent “boy” that you want people to believe he was. His banner on FB was THUG LIFE. Although he was caught with pot, caught fighting, and proclaiming that one guy he fought “didn’t bleed enough for my liking”…..So sometime…if you live the thug life you die the thug life, if Mr. Zimmerman had not got to his gun first, he would have been dead, and he did NOTHING wrong. Please look at the evidence, the truth, and the past of your precious Travon. The truth is not being told. I am sorry he died, I feel for his parents, because we have also lost a son (to a motorcycle accident). So I know their pain. But they could have avoided it by parenting him. IF he was such a “child”, he should have been escorted to the store on a dark rainy night. You can’t have it both ways. IF Dr. ML King were here, he would call for peace and an end to this thing, not the violence and the lawsuits that Al, Jesse, and even you are calling for. None of you are a Dr. King. Think about it.

  5. alv3d@ says:

    Dear Jim,

    I never said it was about hoodie… I said it wasn’t. Our children are t. If you live the thug life, you can die the thug life, yes. So let’s pray to transform our youth, not kill them.

    If Uncle ML was here today he would be sad that Trayvon Martin is dead and that Zimmerman and his parents are being threatened. He would ask for prayers and a non-violent resolution as I have done.

    Even as Jesus loved the thief on the cross, there is always hope for Trayvon.

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