For two cold, snowy days in mid-January, groups of friends gathered together to drink coffee (and cocoa) in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Moms, dads, grandparents, friends, and kids got together to raise a cup in honor of a man, who enjoyed comfort, community, and coffee as much as any of us.
We honored him by energizing ourselves with coffee (and cocoa).
The history of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (MLK Day), which was established in 1983 and then implemented in 1986, reflects a long struggle for recognition. In fact, it wasn't observed in all 50 states until 2000. In 2007, only 33% of employers gave the day off.
With President-Elect Obama coming into office on Tuesday, January 20th, the 2009 take on the holiday is certainly different---and in many ways the same. Some people will be home from work. Many people will need to or choose to work. In our community, all schools will be closed, but that's not the case everywhere. We are fortunate to live in a well-educated and super-tolerant community in which much of the day will be focused on recognizing and celebrating MLK's life and legacy...But honoring MLK and choosing to work or study are not incongruous. In fact, in addition to other things, I will spend part of my day writing. And before that I will drink coffee.
I will work happily, because my ability to do the work I love so much is largely a byproduct of Dr. King's efforts and those who worked alongside him, and have continued to work. The way to honor MLK on a personal level is by understanding the quiet power of intention. If there is work that needs to be done, then there is joy in doing it. Results follow from intentions.
I have read that MLK drank coffee. He drank it in the mornings, he drank it while writing his famous speeches and he happily drank it when he came home exhausted, and at times ravaged, and his wife put a warm steaming cup into his hands.
Our lives are infinitely different and better because Martin Luther King, Jr. lived. Honor him today by drinking coffee and remembering his work and the joy he took in his life---intellectually, spiritually, and as a man who loved a good cup of coffee.
Notes: Special thank you to photographers--Lisa (Watchung mom); Stephanie Drenka; and Nick Bosco.