Today’s social justice tour ended with a visit to Martin Luther King’s boyhood home in Atlanta, a walk through Ebenezer Church, a visit to the museum and a gathering at his gravesite. Before we walked to the grave, we saw a video about his last day on earth and the funeral that followed. And something struck me.
So I raised my hand to share and stood up to find my body shaking with sobs. The kids got quiet and waited and in-between the tears, I managed to say this:
“Everybody my age knows where they were when Kennedy got shot. Everybody in San Francisco can tell you where they were when the earthquake happened in ’89. Everybody in the U.S. knows where they were on 9/11. Catastrophic events that you can never forget.
But I’m sitting here watching this and trying as hard as I can to remember where I was when Dr. King was shot. I was 17 years old, a junior in high school and it seems like I should be able to remember the moment when Dr. King was shot.
But I can’t.
Let me be clear. I’m not blaming myself or my memory. I’m talking about my school, my family, my neighborhood, my country.
I ask again. Where was I when that happened?
And why can’t I remember?”